September 15, 2019

D.C. United Game 18 Recap: Hamid saves, saves, and saves again in win at San Jose

Ideally, D.C. United shouldn’t need goalkeeper Bill Hamid to stand on his head or make 10-bell saves, or play as if he is a super goalkeeping being from another planet. There should be enough done defensively and with possession in the attack such that Hamid isn’t a team-saving behemoth with all the work to himself to do.

However, on nights such as Friday and in times such as the second half of United’s 2-1 win at San Jose, it’s nice to know that if Hamid indeed has to be all those things, he can. Hamid made seven saves (according to MLS, he was credited with nine during the NBCSN broadcast), many of the spectacular variety, as D.C. built a 2-0 first-half lead, saw it sliced to one before halftime, then hung on for dear life for most of the final 45 minutes. The away win was United’s third straight, and leaves the club 9-5-4 (31 points) in the standings and still alone in first place atop Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.

United now has tripled its win total from all of last year, and nearly doubled its haul of points. United is also now 2-1 in three games without leading goal-scorer and assist man Fabian Espindola, who remains sidelined with a knee injury and likely will miss at least three more matches.

For all of the success, however, they pretty much have Hamid to thank. He was given some support early, however, as United provided an impressive start in the narrow confines of Buck Shaw Stadium (attendance: 10,525). With Johnson up front and Silva playing in behind, and Chris Rolfe on the left wing, United’s attack often was made to look quite quick by comparison to San Jose’s rather lumbering transition defense.

From the penalty spot, Johnson got his second goal of the season in the 12th minute. The infraction occurred when Rolfe shot from the edge of the area, and San Jose defender (and former United man) Brandon Barklage got caught with his arm out and the ball bounced off it. Johnson went low and to his right and converted, despite the accurate guess of goalkeeper Jon Busch.

In the 25th minute, United struck again, this time off a turnover, as Perry Kitchen slid a ball up the left side for Rolfe, who hit a low cross toward the center of the area. There, Silva had gotten in front of defender Clarence Goodson and he neatly tapped the ball to the opposite corner to make it 2-0. It was 2-1 at halftime, however, after Chris Wondolowski scored on a deflected shot from outside that left Hamid with no chance to stop it.

Wondolowski had an opportunity to draw the Earthquakes (4-8-4, 16 points, last, West) level in the 58th minute from close in, but Hamid raced out to the left edge of his 6-yard box to stop the threat. Hamid had his left leg partially stepped on by D.C. defender Steve Birnbaum in the aftermath, but Hamid limped that off.

In the 66th minute, Hamid dove left to his near post to stop a wicked drive by Atiba Harris, who seems like he’s been in the league since before it started, and push it out for a corner. Eleven minutes later, Hamid found himself at the opposite post and batting away a well-hit Sam Cronin drive to safety.

Hamid polished off the performance with a pair of acrobatic saves on San Jose’s Alan Gordon. First, near the end of the 90 minutes, Hamid again worked magic at his left post, somehow getting in front of a Gordon shot from only a few feet away. Hamid then capped his stellar night by denying Gordon again, this time on a header from less than 5 yards out.

Hamid lowered his goals against average to 1.14 with the victory, and he’s now made 50 saves in 1,260 minutes this season. The shots got to him much faster and more furious Friday night, but he came through when the team needed it. Though there will surely be some discussion prior to United’s next match at home to Chivas USA on Sunday, July 20 about holding the ball more and keeping the pressure off Hamid, something D.C. has struggled with often when holding a lead this season.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow hm on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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