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2018 Review: Hamid makes the most of short season

Bill Hamid may have started the 2018 season overseas with Danish side FC Midtjylland, but after rejoining D.C. United on a midseason loan, the goalkeeper returned to the District ready to make an impact. One of the top young American goalkeepers, Hamid made his first appearance of the season on August 15, and went on to play every minute for the rest of the season (1,260 minutes total), earning five clean sheets in 14 matches. After reuniting with a Black-and-Red side that struggled with inconsistencies on defense for the first half of 2018, Hamid made the most of his short MLS season, and his strength in net was one of the pivotal changes that helped United advance to the postseason. 

While the Black-and-Red's offensive strength earned most of the team's attention, the improvement of the defense was just as critical to United's midseason turnaround, and even more crucial in winning close matches. Hamid allowed just two goals in the last five games of the regular season and had a string of shutouts that helped lift D.C. over the playoff line. With his ability for clutch, acrobatic saves, and his familiarity with the likes of defenders Steven Birnbaum and Kofi Opare, Hamid took over the starting role with confidence and quickly elevated the team's performances on the defensive side of the ball. 

Hamid also contributed to the team's shift in mentality toward the end of the season. The goalkeeper used his veteran status to take on a leadership role as the Black-and-Red made a run for the playoffs, pushing his teammates on the field, in the locker room, and at training toward their shared goal of qualifying for the postseason. Once in the playoffs, Hamid gave another spectacular performance in the Knockout Round game against the Columbus Crew, and while the match ended with a devastating loss in penalty kicks, the Homegrown still recognized the important foundation the team had laid in their inaugural season at Audi Field. 

“We have a solid base to build off of,” Hamid said. “I believe that this team is very sound from the front to the back. We put a good product on the field, and I hope that we can continue to build, and I hope that the fans can stick behind us because that was something special.”

Hamid finished 2018 with 51 saves in 14 regular season games and a regular season record of 9-2-3. The goalkeeper produced the first-ever clean sheet at Audi Field, and earned his 50th career shutout, when United blanked the New England Revolution 2-0 on August 19. Hamid also earned four MLS Team of the Week selections since returning to the District—after United's 3-1 win over Atlanta when Hamid maintained his undefeated record against the Five Stripes, after the team's 1-1 draw against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium in which Hamid made eight saves, after United's 5-0 rout of the Montreal Impact when Hamid stopped five shots and secured his second clean sheet of the season, and after the Black-and-Red's gutsy 1-0 win over Dallas during which Hamid shut down the Western Conference's then No. 1 team. 

"Forwards have to be aware of him, he's imposing when he comes out with that type of speed and stays big," head coach Ben Olsen noted of the edge Hamid helps give United. "It's nice to have him in net, it's as if he never left."

Hamid got to experience United's inaugural season at Audi Field, but now, like the rest of the Black-and-Red, he will look to take advantage of the club's first full campaign at the venue in 2019 and build off of the momentum that was established this year. In the midst of his year-and-a-half loan from FC Midtjylland, Hamid will suit up for United again next season, and will be a major factor in determining if the club can qualify for the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. 

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