BOYDS, Md. – Decked from head-to-toe in a bright, neon-green goalie kit, 20-year-old Bill Hamid made his first competitive appearance for D.C. United in last night’s penalty-kick triumph over the Philadelphia Union in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game.
Hamid made his first start for DC since Sept. 4 of last year, a 1-0 loss against Columbus that preceded season-ending shoulder surgery. His only appearances prior to Wednesday evening this year came in the team’s two reserve matches.
During the game, Hamid was called into action on a few occasions before making a crucial save on Roger Torres’s spot kick during penalties.
“I felt extremely comfortable,” he told reporters after Wednesday’s game. “I’m happy there was a crowd out there because you already need the atmosphere as well to kind of get you to the next level, skill-wise. I felt relaxed, felt calm, [and] surprisingly didn’t have any butterflies 'cause I was very confident going into this game.”
Coach Ben Olsen was pleased with Hamid’s performance.
“He was great in PKs,” Olsen said. “He had a moment or two where you saw a little rust, but overall he was pretty good today.”
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Throughout most out most of the game, Hamid wasn’t extremely busy. He couldn’t keep out Carlos Ruiz’s first-half equalizer, but he was alert when needed and looked comfortable in his decision-making.
Hamid expressed a hint of disappointment in conceding Philadelphia’s equalizer with two minutes left in extratime.
“I actually had made the original save, but I think it bounced off Woolard’s leg right into the goal,” he said. “We kept on pushing and got the result.”
His performance in the penalty kicks was his most impressive stretch of the night. Looking spry and quick, Hamid read the body language correctly of each Union player, just missing out on saving the two penalties he did concede.
He also got some help from his teammate Fred, who played in Philadelphia last year.
"He gave me a little advice," said Hamid. "I was kind of taking a peek over at him, and he was giving me advice on the type of players they are, and we talked about it before, so it worked out well."
Now that he’s fit and seen competitive action, the promising shot stopper will look to crack the starting lineup in league play. He said he’s feeling good, and it’s now up to Olsen and the coaching staff to make the decision.
“I feel like I’m doing well right now. Now I have to see if the coaches agree.”