D.C. United (7-3-3, 24 points) collected a well-earned point on the road against Toronto FC (5-4-2, 17 points) at BMO Field on Wednesday night. The draw gave D.C. United sole position of first place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 13 games this season.
Seven changes were made to the starting 11 for the midweek match. Quincy Amarikwa made his 99th career start and his first for D.C. United. SuperDraft selection, defender Akeem Ward made his MLS debut and played 48 minutes before being subbed out for Luciano Acosta in the second half.
The first half was a defensive battle. Toronto FC owned possession but United’s defensive shell was unbreakable as they continued to clear balls away and block shots. Former D.C. United man, Nick DeLeon rifled a shot on the left side of the box and midfielder, Chris Durkin scurried over just in time to make a massive block in the first ten minutes.
Midway through the first half, Bill Hamid was called to action on his goal line after Jordan Hamilton found room on the end of Alejandro Pozeulo’s pass inside the box. Hamilton fired a first-time effort on frame and Hamid intervened to keep the clean sheet alive and the game level at 0-0.
D.C. United kept Toronto FC at bay through the first 45 minutes of the match and in the 48th minute brought on forward, Wayne Rooney for Amarikwa and midfielder, Acosta for Ward to bolster the team’s offensive abilities.
United had a handful of offensive opportunities on the counterattack with Zoltan Stieber, Acosta and Rooney finding room to break out in the 65th minute. Stieber found room on the right wing and curled a ball towards Rooney. Drew Moor leaped towards the cross to disrupt the play and kept United off the scoresheet. The game finished 0-0 as United walked off BMO Field with a massive point in the standings after a gritty performance in Canada.
Bill Hamid was put to the test in this match. Toronto continued to put the pressure on United’s backline all throughout the match as they totaled 35 shots during the game - the most by an MLS team in 21 seasons. Hamid was sensational in net as he made 12 saves shattering his previous career high of eight saves and earned Man of the Match honors. Hamid recorded his seventh shutout of the season and is in sole possession of the league lead. He is also the league leader in saves with 49 through 13 games (nine better than 2nd placed Brian Rowe of Orlando).
D.C. United next travel to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, May 18, to take on one of the best of the west, Houston Dynamo (6-2-2, 20 points). Houston is coming off a 1-1 draw with Portland in their most recent midweek match-up.