With a 1-9-2 record, this hasn't been the start to the season that anyone on the D.C. United roster dreamed of, least of all goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who shoulders a league-worst 1.82 goals against average and eight losses.
While glaring, those stats alone don't tell the whole story.
The Black-and-Red have struggled mightily to generate offense this season. The club has scored just six times in 12 games and has been held off the board in seven matches. Unfortunately for United, however, the offense isn't the only problem. Breakdowns and metal lapses seem to consistently plague United's back line, often leaving Hamid exposed.
Hamid was sat for the first time this season after giving up four goals at home to Houston earlier in May. Just before that benching, Hamid learned that he would join the U.S. Men's National Team for a friendly against Germany on June 2. The match, to be held on DCU's home turf, is the final tune up before a trio of critical World Cup qualifiers later in the month.
The call-up was a shot of much-needed confidence.
"Emotionally I was a little back and forth because clearly we're not getting the results that we want," explained Hamid after practicing with United in grueling 90-degree temperatures on Thursday. "I got the call and it was just a relief. It opened up a little window for me to clear my mind and get with the big boys and kind of refresh a little bit."
While the disappointing season has weighed on Hamid emotionally, the 22-year-old keeper has never doubted his abilities.
"I don't doubt myself. I get really upset with myself. I think I'm my own worst enemy and my biggest critic, but it's not something that I get down about," said Hamid. "I want to stay focused and do well so the call-up helped."
Hamid also has plenty of supporters around him. His teammates have been quick to defend and even champion the netminder along United's rough ride.
"He's been solid for us since day one. I think he's been put in some tough positions and often times left out to dry," said DCU captain Dwayne De Rosario after Hamid's jaw-dropping performance in his return, which earned the team a draw with Sporting KC. "He's made big saves but there's only so many times you can make big saves before a few get by you. We're going to continue to keep him grounded and continue to boost his confidence. It's nice to see him get called up to the national team so hopefully that will encourage him to continue to work hard for us."
"My teammates help me out a lot," explained Hamid. "It's a lot of positive vibes. My family as well, I lean on them a lot. Success keeps me motivated. Getting to the next level keeps me motivated."
Hamid sits behind keepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan on the roster's depth chart and will not likely see playing time against No. 2 ranked Germany, but the chance to wear the USMNT jersey this Sunday is an honor not lost on the young keeper.
"It means the world," said Hamid. "At the same time it's the U.S. soccer centennial. It's the 100-year birthday and to be a part of that is very special. I just want to be the best representative I can be."
Hamid will remain with the USMNT for the match while United travels to Chicago to take on the Fire. USA will then take on Jamaica, Panama and Honduras in World Cup qualifying matches on June 7, 11 and 18 though Hamid is expected to return to DCU after this weekend's friendly.