ATLANTA – With the help of a few tremendous early saves from Bill Hamid and moments of individual brilliance from Luciano Acosta, D.C. United took three points from a tough away environment vs. Atlanta United on Sunday.
“We knew there was going to be a storm coming, the way they play and the talent they have,” said D.C. United manager Ben Olsen postgame.
Hamid had to make impressive saves to deny two chances for Atlanta United’s Hector Villalba in the game’s opening minutes as ATL UTD ran riot out of the gates.
“We just dealt with their wave pretty well,” said Hamid. “Thankfully they didn’t get three goals in the first 10 minutes.”
Miguel Almiron and Yamil Asad caused them fits, Olsen admitted, until they made a few tactical adjustments “to start to clog some of those lanes” by bringing Acosta underneath and flattening Ian Harkes’ positioning in the midfield.
Olsen was happy with how his team counterattacked throughout, and he praised the disciplined way his players reacted to the initial onslaught from Atlanta, especially as the Georgia heat began to take its toll in the second half. He also had some kind words for his ‘keeper for keeping them in the game.
“I’m very pleased with Bill, making a few great saves,” he said.
Added midfielder Lamar Neagle: “It’s something that we have the luxury of – you usually want your 'keeper to make [one great save]. We get two or three a game.”
Asked if he thought his team had a point to prove against the much-ballyhooed expansion side, Olsen said no.
“I think our guys have the right chip on their shoulder where we have something to prove every weekend,” he said. “It’s a big three points for us.”
After earning a draw last week in New England, D.C. have taken four points from a three-game road stretch and can now look forward to three consecutive matches at home.
“There are a lot of positives in this three-game stretch,” noted Hamid.
In more good news for the Black-and-Red, Olsen believes neither Hamid nor Acosta will miss next week’s clash with the Montreal Impact (Saturday, 6 pm ET | TVAS in Canada, MLS LIVE in US) despite picking up knocks vs. ATL UTD.
Acosta’s substitution in the second half was a tactical decision, said the coach, and Hamid only tweaked his groin on one of his early saves. The Homegrown ‘keeper will take a few days off, but should be fine going forward.