We've known since the MLS schedule was first released that May was going to be tough for D.C. United. It wasn't so much that it was a murderer's row of opponents - Columbus, KC, and New England were the only objectively good teams, and two of those teams came to RFK - but the sheer volume of games. United played 7 games this past month, and 6 of them were packed into a 21-day span. There was a 3 game road trip in there that ended with matches on turf and on opposite coasts that were less than 100 hours apart.
In a month where United's best player one game would be a bit off - or rested outright due to a heavy schedule - one player kept coming up on everyone's ballot: Bill Hamid. It's kind of fitting given that May opened with news that Hamid had signed a long-term contract extension. In a month where all but one game was either a one-goal margin or a tie, Hamid's strong goalkeeping ended up being critical to a team still missing its three top goalscorers from 2014. United's success is built around keeping teams from scoring, and in May the Black-and-Red gave up less than one goal per game. While things like goals against average are pretty misleading stats for goalkeepers, it's safe to say that in this case United's parsimonious defense owes more to Hamid than to any other individual player.
Here's how our voters felt:
In a month where D.C. United's offense and defense could be hit or miss, Bill Hamid showed everyone why he is a USMNT player.
Adam M Taylor
In an insane seven-game-month where the attack just squeaked over the one goal per game mark, the defense allowed only six goals despite using the same back four in consecutive games only once. The consistent presence was Bill Hamid and his league best goals against average.
Bill Hamid is Player of the Month for me, hands down. As we've come to expect from him (damn, are we spoiled), Hamid made huge saves to keep us in games and get us through a bonkers May schedule. It's a different team out there without Bill in goal. Much different.
Despite what felt like a revolving door at various positions in the back, and many games crammed into 4½ weeks, one man maintained a high level of play, and played a big part in keeping United atop the East. Bill Hamid is my Player of the Month.
Until Espindola and Silva come back, United's defense-first policy is going to be exaggerated. That philosophy only works if the defense is impenetrable, or if the goalkeeper stands on his or her head. The former happened sporadically (what's up Columbus Crew?), but the latter remains a near-constant. United's good performances seemed to change from game to game among the field players, but Hamid was a rock throughout.
When polling, we have everyone submit a runner-up in the event of a tie. Out of eight ballots this month, Hamid was on seven. However, Kofi Opare (two 1st place, two 2nd place) and Chris Rolfe (one 1st place, two 2nd place) also got some love:
Ryan Keefer (voting for Kofi Opare)
Kofi Opare played with a variety of backlines and with both center backs (in Bobby Boswell and Steve Birnbaum), and the team didn't give up more than one goal in the lineup while he played, and he contributed to the cause when he scored a goal vs. Orlando City SC. He did it quietly and with a smile on his face, and gave D.C. fans comfort in that he can pick up the torch when it is handed to him or Birnbaum from Boswell.
touchline (voting for Kofi Opare)
No one played as consistently well in May as Kofi did. And he did it unaided by a magic headband.
blazindw (voting for Chris Rolfe)
Chris Rolfe has been the hero we deserved in May, singlehandedly contributing 2 game winners and being the man to spur our attack when it needed it most.
So that's how we saw it. Write your odes to Hamid's greatness in the comments, or feel free to disagree. Are you siding with the Opare bloc? Perhaps you're surprised - like I was - that Perry Kitchen wasn't mentioned? Tell us why below!