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Goalkeepers shine in D.C. United, NYCFC scoreless draw

Mar 10, 2019; New York, NY, USA; D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (24) sets up for a shot during the first half against the New York City at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

BRONX, N.Y. — The lack of scoring in Sunday’s stalemate between D.C. United and New York City FC did not deprive spectators of highlights.

The two goalkeepers — both also in the United States national team pool — stole the show.

NYCFC’s Sean Johnson and United’s Bill Hamid saved shot after shot, one-upping each other as the clock ticked toward full time. For United, it was another solid performance from its homegrown keeper who recorded his second shutout of 2019. Hamid saved all six of NYCFC’s shots on target.

“[Hamid] came up with some great saves, and Sean Johnson came up with some fantastic saves,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “It was probably a coin flip over the course of that game. It could have went either way.”

Hamid’s best save of the night came in the dying minutes of the match. Defender Anton Tinnerholm slotted a ball through the legs of United defender Joseph Mora and found the diving head of midfielder Alexander Ring. Hamid tracked the ball and thrust himself backward in order to keep it out of the net. United’s defense took care of the rest, clearing the ball out of danger.

“I saw somebody get nutmegged,” Hamid said. “I just got there, thankfully clawed it out and the guys were there to protect the goal and clear it out. It is a team effort. We are all back there protecting the goal.”

Johnson, 29, and Hamid, 28, both joined MLS in 2010. Their journeys have intertwined the last 9 years with league play and international call-ups both at the youth and senior levels.

“We have both grown up in this league and there is something to be said of that. There is a relationship there that is tough to describe to others who haven’t experienced that,” Johnson said after the game. “You always recognize when an opponent does well, and Bill had a great game tonight. We call it the Goalkeepers Union.

“It is always good to see your counterpart do well. Obviously, we wanted to score, but if he is the reason that kept the team off the scoresheet, hats off to him.”

Hamid offered the same compliments to his New York opponent.

“It’s not only me,” Hamid said. “[Johnson] had an amazing game today, too, in goal for City, and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Hamid has been vocal this year about his abilities and desire to be apart of the the U.S. men’s national team. He created a few highlight saves Sunday for USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter to evaluate ahead of Tuesday’s international roster announcement.

While England’s current all-time leading goal scorer and United captain Wayne Rooney doesn’t have a say in the matter, he made it clear what he thinks about his teammate’s shot-stopping skills.

“I think it is quite baffling how [Hamid] is not in the squad for the U.S. men’s national team, but it is not really my decision,” Rooney said. “He is certainly one of the best goalkeepers in the league, and he proved that again today.”

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