MLS- New York Red Bulls

Hamid saves D.C. United in scoreless draw with Red Bulls

Tim Cahill, Bill Hamid

Photo by ISIPhotos.com


HARRISON, N.J. — In the snow, the ball touched nearly every blade of grass on the field, but it never crossed the plane of the goal. D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made sure of that.

Hamid made seven saves, including a game-saving one in second-half stoppage time, as D.C. United played the New York Red Bulls to a scoreless draw on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. It was the home debut of the 2013 Red Bulls, and while Thierry Henry, Fabian Espindola, and Jamison Olave all had games to remember, they could not find a way to finish.

The new-look Red Bulls played their best soccer so far this season, getting nearly everyone involved in one form or another, and creating plenty of chances on goal. But time after time, Hamid was there for D.C. United to keep them in the match.

“I think we were very unfortunate in certain situations, not coming up with a goal,” Red Bulls coach Mike Petke after the match. “I give D.C. a lot of credit for coming in here and putting in a strong defensive effort.”

Hamid made his biggest save in the match’s final minutes, saving a header from Red Bull’s right back Brandon Barklage, diving to his right to stop the ball just before it went over the line.

“It did not go over,” Hamid said. “It was close, but I got there before it went over the line.”

The visitors were boosted before the game by the return of captain Dwayne De Rosario to the lineup for the first time since November 18 of last year. The Canadian international played for 76 minutes, before being replaced for fresher legs.

Petke made the decision to change his back four again after their poor performance last week, going with Heath Pearce at left back, and Markus Holgersson in central defense. The move paid dividends, as storming runs forward right back by Pearce and Brandon Barklage added another layer of wing play to the New York attack.

“In a perfect world I want consistency,” Petke said. “But I’m not going to sacrifice for consistency early in the season if I don’t like what I see.

“I’m willing to make changes.”

The Red Bulls finished the match with 24 attempts on goal, and seven shots on target. In comparison, DC United had just four attempts on goal, and just two shots on target, one in each half.

Henry was denied by Hamid twice in the first 20 minutes, with another chance coming a few minutes later from Henry to Espindola that hit the crossbar. Wide midfielders Jonathan Steele and Eric Alexander roamed on the left and right side of the field respectively, working with their center midfielders and wing backs to create space.

Steele proved to be a good crosser of the ball, while Alexander’s guile and patience going forward caused many a defender on D.C. United to miss.

“We threw everything at it, I thought we played really well,” Tim Cahill said. “The underlying fact is I didn’t put the ball in the back of the net, and I definitely take responsibility for that.”

The match was scoreless at halftime, but it seemed as though it was only a matter of time before the announced crowd of 22,022 saw a goal. A ten minute spell in the second half saw them nearly convert on a number of occasions.

Espindola was at his best, when he dribbled through two defenders, and hit a blast of a shot that beat Hamid, but not the crossbar, cannoning off with a loud bang. Henry then had two chances that were easily saved, before it was Alexander’s turn to try and play hero, going for goal on the upper 90 that missed by mere inches.

“He’s an absolute pest,” Dax McCarty said about Espindola. “He’s incredibly unlucky on two or three chances today, and him and Thierry (Henry) could have had two or three goals each tonight.”

Substitutions slowed down the pace of the match, allowing D.C. United a chance to catch their breathe and re-organize defensively.

Juninho made his home debut in the 68th minute to loud cheers, but those cheers disappeared when he was yellow carded ten minutes later, joining Cahill and Espindola in the book.

When referee Mark Geiger blew the final whistle, the scoreline was met with boos from the crowd, who were clearly disappointed with the result. D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen was the opposite, and said he felt fortunate to come away with a point.

“They are a real team, with real players” said Olsen, talking about the Red Bulls. “I really credit our defense, lead of course by Bill Hamid, but Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic anchored in front and it led to a pretty good defense tonight.”

Despite the outcome, Petke kept a positive outlook on his teams performance.

“I’m proud of the boys effort,” Petke said. “Obviously I’m not happy with the result, but it’s one of those moments that this coaching staff came back in and said ‘we liked what we saw’.”

Here are the match highlights:

  • Tony in Quakeland

    An entertaining game despite the failure for anyone to breakthrough. Petke must be wondering what he has to do to win a game…

    Hamid looked…convincing.


    • Tony in Quakeland

      Henry was right there, with an even better view than Hamid. He never stopped, celebrated or protested. So, based on that, I say no.


    • Shake

      None of the replays suggest that it was a goal. Just by the angle Hamid knocks the ball down (practically straight down) and the ball clearly is not near the goal line.

      This leads me to believe a portion of the ball crossed the line, but that the whole ball definitely didn’t cross the line.


      • solles

        None of the replays ive seen are at an angle where you could tell whether it went over or not, and Hamid’s body was in the way of the linesman’s view. Not sure we’ll ever really know.

        What I want to know is WHY mls does not yet have goalline cameras.


    • Georkt

      I had a perfect angle and it did cross the line. A tough call for the ass. ref so that’s the way it goes. Aside from that it was a great match experience from the sky diving start to the decent sized crowd considering the low 40’s temp with snow. Great passion and a tip of the hat to the DC supporters. I think the boos were more for Geiger.
      RB was a different side than the previous games. Thoroughly dominante. The goals will come.


    • Jake

      It definitely looked like it in real time, but all the replays show that it didn’t. None of them suggest that it did get all the way over. I agree. The guy with easily the best angle and who is known for protesting with refs (Henry) didn’t say a thing. That should be enough for Red Bull fans to get it. Clearly they deserved the win and absolutely dominated DC in every way, but it just wasn’t their day.


  • yameson

    This was an exciting effort. There were numerous miscues, but also some really nice team play and good awareness. I think they are starting to work together and communicate well. The back line was strong. Alexander made a gorgeous, lung-bursting run in the first half to be open on the back post. Pearce looked strong on the left. Steele still seems to struggle (how’s that for alliterationf?) in midfield. Something about his play says that he is more defensive minded; certainly he’s better suited to a holding role.


  • Sabella

    Some RBNY notes: this defensive line up is for keeps. Don’t change it, they were solid. I really liked Alexander. He has a great first touch and showed the type of creativity we need. I see him pushinh balls through opposing defenses all year. I’m not convinced on Steele. I’d like to see Sam play in his spot as a basis for comparison. Espindola, while crafty, had a tendency to slow things down when pace would have created better results. Finally, Henry had an extremely heavy first touch tonight. It was a strange sight. Net, net, I think this can be a very good team this year. They are still getting to know each other so it can only get better.


  • inkedAG

    Three points would have been nice, but that’s how it goes some days. I hope that this is a step in the right direction for points. RB played pretty well.


  • Fred

    I was absolutely stunned by the boos after the final whistle. It’s the home opener. They played very well. Only the crossbar & Hamid really kept DC in the match. I’d understand if they came out like sh*t and didn’t give a f**k. But that wasn’t the case here. Wishing for my support and positivity. Anyway…

    And, what the hell does Ben Olsen mean by “they are a real team.” What kind of condescending nonsense it that?


    • slowleftarm

      I’m at RBA pretty much every game and most of the comments yelled out in my section sound like the kind of things I hear soccer moms yell at an 8 year old rec game. My personal favorite was the guy who stood up and screamed for offside even though it was from a throw-in. It’s no different than being at Yankee stadium where most of the fans are more concerned with taking pictures, booing A-Rod and standing on line for food than supporting the team.

      The performance from NYRB was excellent, sometimes you just don’t get the breaks. If they play like that every game, they’ll win a hell of a lot. I don’t understand how any NYRB fan could boo that performance.


      • AtléticoUnionCity

        Great comment…a absolutely agree. The casual support at RBA are an embarrassment. Last season during the match that Henry was injured and subsequently missed several games, three chicks showed up middle of the first half and sat two rows below. First thing they did was whip out their phones and take pictures of themselves and yes, the field. They proceeded to show themselves the pics they took all the while TH14 is down injured seriously. These gals where oblivious to what was happening as they happily continued looking into their devices and typing away probably on Facebook. 1st half ended and they were gone. Didn’t return for the 2nd half. This seems to exemplify our s@@t casual support .


  • Adam M.

    The offense needs Espindola on the wing, Cahill higher and Juninho pulling the strings for ninety minutes. There is so much potential here. Petke needs to just get the pieces into the right place. Back four was impressive. Dax is in the right spot. Henry is in the right spot. They are close…


  • ed - houston

    the boos at the end of many games are for the refs, and once they start walking back to tunnel they get a new round of boos. especially when the home teams get screwed.


    • slowleftarm

      Sometimes the refs deserved to be booed. Didn’t think that yesterday was one of those times though.


  • TomG

    Title should be Henry saves United, not Hamid. He’s a great player but his form right now is straight up awful. He and only he is why NYRB could. It score. The guy was gifted with a dozen scoring chances. In a normal game he buries at least 3 of them. His passing was also way off and he blew another dozen chances to set up teammates with poorly timed and poorly executed passes. He began the same way 2 seasons ago. Let’s hope he breaks out of it.


    • g

      No… Hamid sounds right. Henry really isn’t to blame. DC defense got in front of some really good offense. Any other d, and that was a 3+ goal win.


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