Alex Bono, Tyler Miller, Luis Zamudio compete for D.C. United keeper job


INDIO, Calif. – For the better part of 12 years, DC United has opened a training camp with Bill Hamid on the depth chart and other goalkeepers looking for a return job. Hamid will miss time due to injuries and international calls, but for the most part there is a clear pecking order.

This year’s campaign did not begin without Hamid but without the four keepers who saw action in 2022. The competition for the start with Toronto FC in the MLS opener Feb. joint venture.

“You don’t come and try to overthrow something that has been working for years, is a favorite, very popular among men,” said Alex Bono. “The three of us are coming with a clean slate.”

Hamid and United parted ways after his injury in the 2022 season, ending the second longest tenure by a DC player (after Jaime Moreno’s) and a 290-game streak, 80 -shutout, including the playoffs. The 32-year-old remains a free agent.

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Bono, 28, arrived after eight seasons in Toronto, where he started 48 games over the past two years. Tyler Miller, 29, signed after starting 30 times for Minnesota in 2021 and lost the starting job last season. Luis Zamudio, 24, was Loudoun United’s first keeper last season while still training with the DC club.

When camp opened, Coach Wayne Rooney and goalkeeper Diego Restrepo identified the No. 1 slot. 1 is there for the taking. Miller and Bono started one preseason game. Zamudio was the second half in two, then started a game 45 minutes.

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“For them, it’s about the minutes, and whether it’s the next game or the game after, they’ll see who’s going to be the starting point guard,” Rooney said. “I have one idea, but I will discuss it with men and [Restrepo] and make a decision from there.

After starting the preseason opener last week, Miller appeared on the sidelines. But the knowledge of Bono and the power of Zamudio left the race.

“Wayne told us anyone can play,” Zamudio said. “He doesn’t care about our age. He was going to play what he thought was best. “

Miller’s signing brought him full circle. The summer after his freshman year at Northwestern, he was invited to an informal workout with United at RFK Stadium. His pro career took him from a backup role in Seattle and, through the expansion plan, a starting role with Los Angeles FC in 2018 and 2019. He was traded to Minnesota in 2020 and started 2021 earlier of supporting Dwayne St. Clair last year. .

With Miller out of action, United inquired about a move last summer to provide depth while Hamid recovered from hand surgery and, in his place, did not feature. Rafael Romo and Jon Kempin. Instead, DC made a deal with Real Salt Lake for David Ochoa, who was expected to be in the final year of his contract.

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Negotiations with Ochoa ended, and on the first day of free agency, Miller said he received calls from general manager Jason Levien, Rooney and two other members of the coaching staff to encouraged him to join United.

“I’ve never had that kind of treatment,” said Miller, who signed a two-year contract. “It’s simple, but it goes a long way.”

Bono’s time with Toronto – which included 135 appearances in the regular season and playoffs – ended last year in a backup role.

“The feeling from both sides is that it’s time to move on,” Bono said, adding that “there’s no anger.”

He said he got other nibbles on free agency but “I felt fortunate that DC wanted to take me on.”

Zamudio’s career began at the youth academy in Mexico’s Club América. In 2019, he made the first team matchday roster for three Liga MX matches. His parents are from Mexico, but he was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Las Vegas.

He played for US second and third division teams before winning with Loudoun last year. Thanks to regular training sessions with DC, “I knew I was on their radar,” he said. “I know that if I do well, I can be considered for the first team.”

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At the end of the season, he was offered an MLS contract.

The preseason competition required the candidates not only to save and set up the defense but to start the attack immediately by playing up the field, taking the opportunities and using their legs for quick delivery.

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“I’m a serious guard,” Miller said. “I want to play up, and for Wayne, it’s a step. It took a long time, but I think I’ve got it right. He’s good: If you make a mistake, it’s good. About reading the Play and don’t play for fear.

“He wants us to be brave,” Zamudio said.

The goal of all three is to enter the lineup at the end of this month at Audi Field. For Bono, it means facing his first team.

“That’s another motivation,” he said with a laugh. “It’s faster to follow that place because I think there’s unfinished business. You want to play your old team and try to stick with them.”

Notes: Polish striker Mateusz Klich received his work visa and arrived at the camp on Tuesday. He is set to start on Monday against Los Angeles FC. …

Christian Benteke and Chris Durkin scored in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Charlotte FC. Then, in a 45-minute period using first-game subs, United played to a 1-1 draw with Vancouver. Rookie Aidan Rocha (Georgetown) scored.


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