WASHINGTON – After D.C. United coach Ben Olsen rested goalkeeper Bill Hamid in favor of Joe Willis in last weekend's match at FC Dallas, he’s received a smattering of questions about who will start in goal Sunday at RFK Stadium when United play host to Sporting Kansas City (5 pm ET, Univision Deportes/watch on MLS Live).
On Friday, following training on the stadium pitch, Olsen again was asked if he had decided on a starting ’keeper for Sunday. Seated, he bowed his head and rested it on his forearm for a few seconds before popping up, smiling and saying, “Zach Wells.”
It's doubtful that particular MLS journeyman is coming out of retirement. But Olsen certainly has managed to keep things light during a rough stretch for his club, which has lost seven straight matches and faces a difficult task in Sporting, who beat United 1-0 earlier this season.
Whether Hamid – who has been called up to the upcoming US national team camp – will start remains unknown, but Olsen said his young goalkeeper has handled adversity far better this year than last.
“Each year, I keep saying it, but Bill has been very, very mature about the way he’s handling this stretch,” Olsen said. “He’s not the only one that has had a hiccup or two here. This isn’t on Bill. And to Bill’s credit, he’s had a couple games that he’s really, still, been the best player on the field. He’s got to get a little bit more consistent, but he has that ability.”
Hamid is scheduled to report to national team camp May 30 and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity. He also channeled his inner-philosopher when asked about his maturation and growth from season to season.
“You create your own happiness. I’m starting to read a lot and seeing things from a different perspective,” said Hamid, who currently is working through Anthony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within. “You can’t be down on yourself, you can’t be unhappy, you can’t walk around with a frown on your face because life isn’t pleasant when you’re living like that.”
Hamid has allowed 17 goals in nine starts this season and has made 25 saves, but on a number of those goals defensive breakdowns put him in an extremely vulnerable position.
“When you go through tough stretches as a player on a team and the team isn’t performing as well as they can to their potential, as a unit, as a core, each player starts feeling it,” Hamid said. “When you’re in a situation like this, it sucks to be losing so many games. Mentally it’s draining.”