For the Black-and-Red, defense is critical. With captain and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Steve Birnbaum and MLS veteran Bobby Boswell at the heart of the defense alongside United's first-ever Homegrown Player Bill Hamid providing cover in goal, the Black-and-Red are well-versed in defending. Leidos, the presenting partner of D.C. United, is a global science and technology leader in defense. Whether it's air, land, sea, space, or cyberspace, Leidos meets challenges and provides solutions. Sponsored by Leidos, this weekly feature delves into some of the defensive storylines for United's next match.
When the Black-and-Red travel to Philadelphia Saturday night, the matchup will feature two award-winning goalkeepers, United’s Bill Hamid and the Union’s Andre Blake.
Hamid was United’s first-ever Academy player to sign with the team at 18 years old. One year later, Hamid started his first match against Sporting Kansas City, making him the youngest MLS goalkeeper to win a game. Since then, Hamid has been United’s bedrock between the post, holding club records in saves, shutouts and wins.
Hamid is having another great year, leading MLS with 70 saves against 93 shots, 12 of which have come against Philadelphia.
Like Hamid, Blake has spent his MLS career with one club. The Union selected him first overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, making him the first goalkeeper taken with the number one pick. Last season, the Jamaican international earned the title of 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, an honor Hamid earned two years prior.
Blake’s job will be difficult on Saturday, as United will look to ride the momentum from a mid-week win over Atlanta United and a previous victory over the Union on April 1.
Hamid will keep a close eye on the Union forward C.J. Sapong, who leads his team with eight goals this season. They also have to watch Haris Medunjanin, who garnered two assists and scored the first of four goals against the Black-and-Red in Philadelphia’s previous win.
The match kicks off at Talen Energy stadium at 7 PM, with pre-game coverage on Facebook, CW Richmond and NewsChannel 8 starting at 6:30.