Friday night's win on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes was a prototypical D.C. United result this season. It contained a dose of quality goal scoring, a dash of danger going forward, a full measure of bend-but-don't-break defense, and two servings of Bill Hamid's awesomeness. This is how D.C. United is getting results this season, and we should be enjoying every moment of it, because at some point you have to believe Bill Hamid will be invited to take his skills overseas.
- Adam Taylor: "The first half hour of the game tonight was something to behold. D.C. United pressed high up the field, got a couple of goals and utterly dominated the opening 30 minutes against the San Jose Earthquakes. It was a bit of a surprise, given Ben Olsen's tendency to sit back on the road. It was less of a surprise when "sit back" is exactly what United did after Chris Wondolowski's shot took a big unfortunate deflection over Bill Hamid to pull the hosts within one. But that's as close as Bill Hamid would let them get. United's homegrown keeper made nine saves, including several highlight reel efforts, denying everything the Quakes could throw at him as the game drew to a close."
- Geoff Lepper, via mlssoccer.com: "The visitors went up in the 12th minute with a little inadvertent help from one of their former members. Quakes right back Brandon Barklage - who broke into MLS with D.C. from 2009 to 2011 - deflected Chris Rolfe's shot from the edge of San Jose's penalty area. He did so with an extended left arm, however, drawing an immediate whistle from referee Jair Marrufo...Silva would create his own chance in the 25th minute, making a sharp near-post run as Rolfe rolled a cross in from the left wing. Silva beat US international Clarence Goodson to the ball, and his sliding touch at the edge of the six-yard box left Busch no chance at the far post."
- Ben Olsen, via dcunited.com: On Bill Hamid. "He's been very good all year long. It's always fun to watch these guys grow over the years. Bill is one of those guys on and off the field who has continually grown in front of our eyes. He's a homegrown guy who we are very proud of. I know he's happy to be here and happy to help out his teammates tonight."
- San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, via dcunited.com: On Bill Hamid. "I thought he was very good. He does a great job of coming out and cutting off angles. He makes himself very big and forced us into having to make a perfect shot to beat him. We couldn't find that shot. He was on top of his game tonight."
- Ben Olsen, via dcunited.com: On Luis Silva. "He worked very hard in the first half. We asked him to be more involved. In the last two games, he just wasn't touching the ball enough, and to get the ball, you need to work hard, pick up second balls, be constantly on the move, and he did a better job of that tonight. Obviously, he capped it off with a very good goal."
- San Jose Earthquakes coach Mark Watson, via dcunited.com: "It's disappointing to lose anytime, especially at home. For once, we were healthy and had good availability. Maybe it's a bit more disappointing, but to put yourself in a two-goal hole is difficult in any place. You try to take the positives out of a game, but it's tough when you lose. We created a lot of chances and we just need to do a bit better putting those away."
- LEWIS NEAL!,
- Steven Birnbaum, via dcunited.com: On first half goals. "I think that was huge for us. By getting those first two goals, we showed them that we're ready to play here on the road and we're here for a reason. After we got our goals, I though we sat in a little more. They nicked a goal in the first half - which was a little unlucky for us - but I thought in the second half we just battled and did well to get three points."
- San Jose Earthquakes defender Clarence Goodson, via dcunited.com: "It was a bad start to the game. We came out slow from the gate and we gave up two bad goals. The second goal was my fault. I apologized to my team, but sorry doesn't cut it. It needs to be earned back with your play. The second half was much better, but it's taking us too long to come into a game like this. There is no excuse for us to be dropping points at home like we have been doing lately."
Friday night was another D.C. United win, and another unconventional stats sheet for a winning team. Like so often this season, the Black-and-Red were both out-possessed and out-shot by San Jose, yet they won the game. For D.C. United, this is their way, and it has been effective this season.
The table below shows the possession and shots stats for D.C. United and their opponents so far this season. Of the nine times D.C. United has won in 2014, they were out-possessed seven times, and outshot seven times. Conversely, of the nine times they've lost or drawn, they've been out-possessed only three times, and outshot only four times. With the exception of the comprehensive wins at home against Dallas and Houston, this is a team built to win while absorbing pressure. Good thing they have Bill Hamid to deal with that pressure.
|D.C. United Result||Home/Away||Opponent||DCU Possession||Opponent Possession||DCU Shots||Opponent Shots|
|Win, 2-0||Home||New England||47.3%||52.7%||9||10|
|Win, 1-0||Home||New York||42.8%||57.2%||12||19|
|Loss, 1-2||Away||New England||51.5%||48.5%||12||13|
|Win, 2-1||Away||San Jose||40.6%||59.4%||9||10|
The Last Word:
We are witnessing something special with Bill Hamid right now. And despite the superb year Fabian Espindola, Chris Rolfe, Perry Kitchen, and others are having, Bill Hamid is proving to be the MVP for this trophy-contending D.C. United team. All else the team is doing is built upon his dominance in the goal. Opponents know that to beat D.C. United, they will have to get a superb goal or a lucky goal. And more often than not, despite having the ball and getting the shots, those opponents aren't getting the goal they need and D.C. United is finishing games with additional points in the MLS table.
We've always known what a superb shot stopper Bill Hamid is, but this year his decision making, especially regarding when to come off his line (as mentioned by Chris Wondolowski above), has matured significantly. While in the past he has accumulated red cards for taking out opposing attacking players when he comes off his line, the last year has seen his timing perfected. Although only 23 years old, still young for an elite keeper, his combination of athleticism, leadership, decision making, shot stopping, and future potential led regular Black and Red United commenter fishcy to post the following on Friday night's gamethread:
Bill Hamid is going to redefine the position before he's done. He does things no other goalie does.
Playing this well, can we expect overseas attention to come for Bill Hamid in the near future? It's been talked about before, and Ben Olsen has said in the past he doesn't worry about the goalkeeper position given the depth he has with Andrew Dykstra and Joe Willis, but it seems Hamid's stock is likely as high as it's ever been, and if an offer to move to Europe is to come, it may come soon. Additionally, would Hamid view a move to Europe at this point as laying the foundation to make the top 3 keepers for the US Men's National Team as it begins the 2018 World Cup cycle? How a potential departure by Hamid would impact this D.C. United team's style of play and results this season is unknown, but we should all be enjoying the spectacular play of Bill Hamid and its role in propelling the hometown team to the top of the Eastern Conference.
For D.C. United, this is the golden age of Bill Hamid.
What's your view on Bill Hamid? Will he go overseas? When will the timing be right for him and D.C. United?