Bill Hamid choosing to look at the short term with long-term future unknown

WASHINGTON -- D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid insists he remains focused on a strong finish to the season, even if the surrounding circumstances are a just cause for distraction.

The 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year is not signed beyond the 2017 campaign and has been linked with a potential European move. And in Saturday night’s 4-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, he found himself on the bench amid a report from Goal.com that Bundesliga brass had come to watch him perform. Instead, the recently acquired Steve Clark kept the shutout in his D.C. debut.

Hamid said coach Ben Olsen gave him 48 hours notice of his lineup choice, and Olsen insisted he was merely trying to evaluate Clark now that the postseason is unrealistic. And while Hamid didn’t like Olsen’s decision, he said he could only move on from it.

“I think they’ve kind of accepted that the playoffs aren’t in reach,” Hamid told MLSsoccer.com. “I don’t see us mathematically out of it, so I would think differently. But it’s a time for us to experiment and kind of tinker with the lineup and see what different guys are about. You kind of just have to deal with it and be ready for the next day of training.”

Hamid declined to speculate whether he would remain with D.C. after the season, but he did acknowledge that recent spending on young talent has changed the calculus. United inked Luciano Acosta and Steve Birnbaum to multi-year deals before the season started, and in August brought in a pair of internationals in American Paul Arriola and Hungarian Zoltan Stieber.

“I think that’s big for the club,” Hamid said of that roster influx. “And any player in this situation would want to kind of see how things turn out. But I’m just in a different situation, you know? I’m the longest tenured player. So, just taking it day by day and wait and see until the end of the season what’s going on.”

Olsen admitted after D.C.’s victory that his evaluation of Clark could be for either the starter or backup role. Clark was Columbus Crew SC’s No. 1 for each of the last three seasons and played in Norway before that.

“Both scenarios could happen,” Olsen said. “I thought he was great tonight. What you guys don’t see is, he’s been a big part of changing the group mentality. He’s an ultra competitive guy. If you’ve been to trainings, you see he’s raised everybody’s level. Including Bill’s.”

Olsen didn't say if Saturday was a one-off or if Clark will get an extended look that continues in Wednesday’s match at the New York Red Bulls (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE).

Playoffs or not, Hamid hopes for the chance to finish on a high.

“I’m not the type of guy that looks too far ahead, to be honest,” Hamid said. “I take it game by game. Statistics for me are important for me in the course of the season. And I have some good statistics, and for me that’s really my focus, is just trying to keep growing every single week. In terms of next season, we’ll see.”

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