United goalie Bill Hamid, 19, will start again against FC Dallas
Saturday, May 8, 2010
D.C. United's Bill Hamid is scheduled to start again Saturday night at FC Dallas after becoming the youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to earn a victory in a league match Wednesday.
"He stepped in and did a really good job and earned the right to play again," Coach Curt Onalfo said after Friday's training session.
In his pro debut against the Kansas City Wizards, Hamid, 19, overcame early jitters to make two excellent saves in the first half and generally perform well in the 2-1 victory, United's first after five consecutive regular season losses.
"There were a couple iffy spots, but that was just the nerves," he said. "Once I settled down and got used to the environment, I zoned everything else out and it started flowing."
Goalkeepers coach Mark Simpson reviewed Wednesday's match with Hamid and worked to maintain his concentration and rhythm amid a short break between games.
"It's a matter of keeping him grounded, keeping him hungry, making sure he humbles himself because, if not, the game will find a way to humble you, and you don't want that to happen," Simpson said.
Hamid, who is 6 feet 3 and 225 pounds, replaced veteran Troy Perkins, a one-time U.S. national team candidate who has not met expectations after being reacquired over the winter.
Despite Hamid's emergence, Perkins is, by no means, out of the picture. Wednesday's performance by the former United youth academy prospect created a genuine competition for playing time. And in a seven-month season, clubs inevitably turn to two goalkeepers because of injuries, suspensions and drops in form.
"I don't expect Troy to be happy that he is not playing, but I have had good conversations with him. He has been great about it," Simpson said. "You have a shakeup when things aren't going well and see what the next guy can do. At some point, too, it's good for him to see a game from the outside."
While Perkins traveled with the team to serve as Hamid's backup, midfielders Santino Quaranta and Andy Najar did not make the trip.
Quaranta (five starts) was hospitalized Thursday night with an infection in his leg.
"The worry is that it is a staph infection," Onalfo said. "I am sure he is going to be okay, but he is going to need to be on antibiotics."
Najar (three starts) was scheduled to have an MRI exam for a lingering ankle ailment that limited his playing time last weekend against the New York Red Bulls and kept him on the bench Wednesday.
Meantime, defender Julius James has recovered from a groin injury that sidelined him for two league games and accompanied the team to Dallas (1-1-4), which is also coming off its first victory: 1-0 at Houston on Wednesday despite playing short-handed for 17 minutes after defender Jair Benitez's red card.
United and Dallas faced one another less than two weeks ago, a 4-2 D.C. victory in a U.S. Open Cup preliminary match. Since scoring twice in that game, Adam Cristman has remained in the starting lineup and, on Wednesday, forged an effective partnership with Australian Danny Allsopp, who scored twice in the first half. They seem certain to pair up again Saturday night.