*Multiple sources tell me D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid has been selected for U.S. national team duty ahead of friendlies against Belgium on May 29 in Cleveland and Germany on June 2 in Washington.
The roster, with as many as 27 players, will come out Thursday afternoon.
If selected, Hamid would probably report to training camp May 26-27 after United’s match against Portland and remain with the U.S. squad until at least early June. In that case, he would definitely miss one league game (June 2 at Chicago) but more if he’s retained for three World Cup qualifiers June 7-18. Juergen Klinsmann plans to drop a few players after the Germany friendly.
Although camp opens next Tuesday at Home Depot Center, several players will not report until the following week because of club obligations.
Hamid’s call-up would be a surprise, given United’s league-worst record and his stretch of 12 goals conceded in four matches. While the defensive effort was responsible for much of the damage, Hamid wasn’t blameless. He was better early in the year than later. With Hamid under siege for weeks and United playing its second game in four days, Ben Olsen started Joe Willis in a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas last weekend. Olsen won’t say who will start this Sunday against Sporting Kansas City at RFK Stadium.
Hamid, 22, remains a raw prospect with imposing physical attributes. I can’t read Klinsmann’s mind, but I imagine the point of summoning him now is to gauge his emotional and mental progress since the January camp. With Tim Howard and Brad Guzan atop the depth chart, Hamid is unlikely to play in either friendly — or the three World Cup qualifiers. So why not see how he performs in camp?
The third-choice keeper in the player pool is Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, but with Howard and Guzan set to sit out the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Rimando would emerge as the No. 1 choice. Klinsmann would not burden in-season RSL by requesting Rimando for both the May-June camp and the Gold Cup.
The other issue sure to arise is whether Hamid deserves a U.S. invitation. Maybe, maybe not. But this isn’t about rewarding players. It’s about projecting whether their abilities fit in the international game.
*Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa (seven appearances, three starts) underwent knee surgery this week and will miss four to six weeks. He becomes the fifth midfielder to miss substantial time this spring.
*United is likely to play at third-division Richmond in the U.S. Open Cup third round on May 28. Five United players are on loan with the Kickers. If they play for Richmond next Tuesday in a second-round game against the amateur Icon FC, they become cup-tied and ineligible to compete for United in the tournament. (MLS teams typically use secondary players in the early stages of the tournament.)
United General Manager Dave Kasper will have to decide in the next few days which players to hold back for the tournament. The Kickers don’t have a say in the matter; the loan agreement provides United with the power to recall players for any reason, including the Open Cup. Most likely, Kasper acknowledged, some of the five will compete for the Kickers next week — and most likely against their employer in the third round at Richmond’s City Stadium.
If Icon FC upsets Richmond, United would host the third-round match May 28 at Maryland SoccerPlex.
“There are a lot of things to juggle,” Kasper said, citing United’s injury situation and Hamid’s possible call-up.
The complete Open Cup pairings are available here.
*United turned down Canada’s request for Dwayne De Rosario and Dejan Jakovic to play in a May 28 friendly against Costa Rica in Edmonton. The match does not fall inside a FIFA fixture window. Both players, and possibly Kyle Porter, will miss considerable time during the Gold Cup in July.
*United officials are headed to Eastern Europe soon for a scouting mission and meetings with player representatives, I’m told. Kasper declined to comment. Scouting coordinator Kurt Morsink recently returned from France and Portugal.
*To read my extended, formal story about Robbie Russell‘s retirement, a piece that includes quotes from a one-on-one interview and how the decision came about, click here.