In a game that felt like a serious case of déjà vu – D.C. United dropped the season opener by two goals without captain Dwayne De Rosario at Houston – Homegrown goalkeeper Bill Hamid dazzled to provide a slice of positivity.
While backup netminder Joe Willis conceded three goals in the first leg of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals in November, Hamid kept the Black-and-Red within reach last night with a series of phenomenal saves. For much of the first half, United’s backline stymied the Houston Dynamo’s offensive efforts, but in the 39th minute, Houston came knocking at the door. Defender Chris Korb took down Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark just outside the penalty area, but the referee whistled for a penalty kick. Dynamo playmaker Brad Davis lined up to take the shot, but Hamid blocked his attempt and also the follow-up shot from Clark to keep it 0-0.
In the 44th minute, Houston threatened again at net, but Hamid and Korb tag-teamed to deny the Dynamo twice at close range. Davis lined up to take a corner kick from the right and Houston forward Will Bruin headed the curler toward the far post only to see Korb clear it off the line. With the ball loose in the box, Dynamo midfielder Giles Barnes blasted a shot from two yards out, but Hamid smothered it with a quick reaction save.
Houston wouldn’t see the fruits of its labors until the 80th minute when a Clark run off of a corner kick forced an own goal from defender James Riley. Nine minutes later, Clark would fire in a close-range, upper-90 strike to seal the game at 2-0.
In total, Hamid made four saves from six Dynamo shots on target and showed why he’s an early contender for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. In 2012, the 22-year-old netminder shined, leading the League in saves percentage (77.9%) and also registering the third-best goals against average (1.03). Despite a two-goal loss, Hamid exhibited stunning skill and provided a sneak peek of what he’s capable of achieving in 2013.