Bill Hamid takes a stand for defense
With a league-high 31 goals to their credit, it figures thatD.C. United’s attack would be well represented on the Major League Soccerall-star ballot. No team in MLShad more midfielder players (4) nominated than the Black-and-Red, and it’simpossible to argue the merits of the club’s two forward nominees in Dwayne DeRosario and Maicon Santos.
But with offensive players drawing a majority of theattention, the D.C. defense was shutout. Not a single United defender earned an all-star nomination; this from ateam tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.
“I don’t think anybody is happy about it,” said central backBrandon McDonald, who leads the unit in minutes played. “Looking at it I was prettydisappointed. I think being infirst place, there should have been at least one of us on there.”
Despite the club’s standing atop the table, the earlyportions of 2012 have been a test for the D.C. back four. Injuries forced the unit to overcome constantshuffling through much of April and May, as only McDonald and Daniel Woolardmanaged to become fixtures in the starting eleven. Despite the inconsistencies in personnel, United ranks inthe top half of the Eastern Conference with 1.29 goals allowed per match.
The slight becomes more obvious when looking at the rest ofMajor League Soccer’s ballot. Houston– which has a GAA of 1.53 – leads the league with three defensive nominations. In fact, the Black-and-Red was the onlyMLS team without a defender nominated at all.
“It was very disappointing because we’ve had some veryconsistent players,” added goalie Bill Hamid, who did earn a nomination for theJuly 25 showdown against Chelsea in Philadelphia. “Daniel Woolard has stayed healthy and Brandon McDonald hasstayed healthy so they are definitely deserving of it.”
While some players acknowledged disappointment, others hardlyregistered the oversight.
“I don’t care,” said veteran Robbie Russell. “As long as we are in first place, I’lltake that over all-star balloting any day.”