When Bill Hamid waved goodbye to the D.C. United faithful after the final whistle at the Last Call at RFK in 2017, many were hopeful that the keeper would return to the club at sometime down the road. The club’s first ever homegrown player was off to start his European adventure, having turned down a new contract with the Black-and-Red, to sign with FC Midtjylland in Denmark.
Hamid had long hoped for a chance to test the waters overseas. At 27 years old, the move might have come a bit later than he hoped for, and Denmark wasn’t Hamid’s main target, but Midtjylland offered him a spot to showcase his talents to the rest of the continent.
Just eight short months after Hamid officially made the move though, he was back with United, both sides desperate for a reunion.
In the offseason, D.C. supplemented Steve Clark with the acquisition of David Ousted, who quickly won the battle between the two veteran MLS keepers. But between the two, United struggled defensively throughout the year, albeit mostly on the road. Ousted started 17 games and gave up 32 goals, never once keeping a clean sheet. Clark got just three starts, and kept a clean sheet in 1-0 win over Columbus in April, but allowed 6 goals in the other two games.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, Hamid could never force his way into Midtjylland’s starting lineup. He appeared in just three official games for the club, two in the cup, one in the league. Hamid’s lack of playing time was evident in June, when he played for the US against Ireland, and had a poor outing in a 2-1 loss.
Hamid’s heart was never too far from D.C. though, and he kept in contact with General Manager Dave Kasper. Eventually, those conversations led to United bringing back the United’s favorite son. Bill, who was so excited for the club to get the new digs at Audi Field, was introduced back at the club at Buzzard Point in early August, rejoining on a 1.5 year loan.
Ben Olsen hesitated on immediately throwing Hamid back into the fray, but after the wild 3-2 affair against Orlando City on August 12th, Hamid was in goal for the first time at Audi Field three days later, against the Portland Timbers. United went on to win 4-1, and while Hamid gave up a goal he probably could have saved against Samuel Armenteros, the job was already Hamid’s.
The Virginia native, who grew up supporting the team from the loud side at RFK Stadium, would start the final 14 games of the season for United. After the Black-and-Red had kept just one clean sheet in the first 20 games, Hamid and the backline kept 5 over the final 14 matches.
Many of those games were at home, while most of the games with either Clark or Ousted in goal were on the road. Which is a big factor in MLS. However, the difference in numbers were staggering before and after Hamid’s arrival. Clark and Ousted gave up 1.9 goals per game, 38 in 20 contests in 2018. Hamid’s GAA was just 0.86, with just 12 goals conceded.
And Hamid was able to help guide United to the playoffs with a rotating cast of characters in front of him. Steven Birnbaum and Joseph Mora were mainstays in front of him, but Kofi Opare and Frederic Brillant both partnered Birnbaum, and Oniel Fisher, Nick DeLeon, Paul Arriola, and Jalen Robinson spent time at right back.
United won 9 of the 14 games with Hamid in goal, tying 3 others, as United rose from last place to 4th place in MLS’ Eastern Conference. In those 14 games, Hamid conceded multiple goals just twice, once in a loss to the Philadelphia Union, and the other time in the pulsating 3-3 draw against the New York Red Bulls.
Heading into 2019, Hamid is United’s unquestioned starter in goal. Clark was moved to Portland shortly after Hamid’s arrival, and Ousted remains Hamid’s back up. United for sure will have Hamid’s services for the next year, and will likely try to retain him for the future as well. Hamid didn’t rule out a return to Denmark, or Europe after his return. He still might want to give Europe another try, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever find another situation where he is so universally loved.
Since it’s a forgone conclusion that Hamid will be back in 2019, answer this instead - would you like United to bring Hamid back permanently? Even if it meant having to use a transfer fee to make the move possible?
Do you want Bill Hamid back for the 2019 season?
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