MONTREAL – With wholesale changes to the D.C. United lineup Wednesday, goalkeeper Bill Hamid was primed for a big road effort against the Montreal Impact, and he delivered.
Hamid made diving saves in both halves, denying Ignacio Piatti with his left hand 11 minutes into a 1-1 tie at Saputo Stadium, and turning aside Johan Venegas' header with his right hand in the 55th minute.
"The past couple of games I haven't been there for this team as much as I would like, but I kind of did better today," Hamid said. "It was a very disciplined performance today from the whole group, defensively and offensively, so we walked out of here with a point. I made some saves, the guys scored a goal, and, you know, it's a good performance."
Lamar Neagle scored on a penalty kick to give D.C. United a 1-0 lead 39 minutes in. Hamid came out to make a save on Didier Drogba's shot from the right side of the box in the 66th minute before Hassoun Camara's diving header drew Montreal level 77 minutes in.
"Bill was always going to have to be Bill tonight because the back line, they haven't had a lot of minutes together so there's going to be moments where we're not on the same page," D.C. United coach Ben Olsen said. "And that goes across the board from a group standpoint. When you throw a group in there that has that many changes, you're going to have to rely on your goalkeeper, in particular on the road, and fortunately we've got a good one."
Playing the second of three games in seven days, Olsen drew seven new starters into his lineup, inserting Julian Buescher, Luke Mishu, Rob Vincent, Kofi Opare, Neagle, Nick DeLeon and Kennedy Igboananike.
"I thought the youngsters that came in, some of the reserves that haven't had a lot of minutes, played well and gave everything for the cause," Olsen said. "And that's what it takes to get results in this league. [Montreal] obviously poured it on a little bit towards the end, but they're a good team. They've got Drogba and Piatti and guys that can make plays who are very dynamic in their attack and to keep them at one goal on the road gives you a chance."
Hamid put full value on the point earned from the result.
"Yeah, extra special primarily because it's a group that hadn't been put together and we didn't have much time to kind of gel or train together but everybody stepped in and did well," Hamid said. "Robby did well in the center of the park. Luke did well on the wings, playing both wings, both fullback positions today.
You know, Kofi stepped in and did well. Unfortunate with the red card, but he stepped in and did well with Drogba and with Piatti. Kenny, he did well holding up the ball for us and keeping possession for us. It was all around a good disciplined performance from the group, and we just have to learn from it and move forward."