HOUSTON - D.C. United entered Saturday’s match against the Houston Dynamo without attackers Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio, and Miguel Aguilar, and yet were still able to steal a point on the road.
D.C. tied the Dynamo, 0-0, at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night, and United head coach Ben Olsen said his side's performance was good taking into consideration the players that were missing and Wednesday’s 120-minute US Open Cup loss to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
“After 30 minutes I think we handled the game pretty well,” said Olsen. “We just have to keep pushing and find more ways to get shots and add a little more danger to the attacking third, but that will come with time and getting some guys back.”
Olsen couldn’t pinpoint a return table for either Aguilar or Saborio. He noted that both players are on different timetables. Espindola did not play due to unspecified reasons.
The Dynamo had plenty of set pieces in Saturday's game, including eight corner kicks, but were mostly unable to get anything positive from them. Olsen credited his team for being solid in defense.
“When you give that many set pieces up against Houston and you come out with a zero, that’s a sign that your team has courage,” said Olsen.
The game was seconds from turning from a 0-0 draw to a 1-0 loss, but D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid came up with some late-game heroics.
In injury time, Hamid pushed away a Maura Manotas shot, which resulted in a corner kick. The danger wasn’t over, however.
In the ensuing corner kick, Raul Rodriguez outjumped everybody to meet the ball first before his header was parried away by Hamid.
Two saves in the span of about a minute to conserve a draw would have any coach jumping for joy, but Olsen stated that he expects nothing less from Hamid.
“It’s always tough for me to judge Bill, because I just expect greatness all the time,” said Olsen. “It doesn’t surprise me cause I’ve seen it for the past few years.”