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D.C. United sits Bill Hamid as European clubs circle

Bill Hamid is enjoying another standout season for D.C. United, but it is starting to look more and more like it will be his last with his hometown team.

The situation between Hamid and United isn't getting any better as the goalkeeper plays out the final year of his MLS contract, and things appear to be on the verge of getting ugly.

Hamid's looming status as a free agent has drawn the attention of European scouts, with sources telling Goal that Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic had traveled to D.C. to see him in person this weekend. The only problem with that plan is Hamid isn't going to play.

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Sources tell Goal that D.C. United is planning to sit him for Saturday's home match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Veteran Steve Clark is expected to get the nod, though rookie Eric Klenofsky is also a possibility to start in goal.

Such a move could be explained as a chance to look at one of the club's other goalkeepers after falling out of the playoff picture, but it is still a curious one given Hamid's status as one of Major League Soccer's best. Contract talks between Hamid and United have reached a standstill, making it tough to believe the decision to sit him against San Jose isn't related to the contract impasse.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper is in the midst of a standout season, having recovered from a pair of knee injuries that cost him time each of the previous two years. His play in 2017 earned him a return to the U.S. national team, for whom he posted an important shutout in the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Long regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, Hamid is sure to generate interest from European clubs as he becomes a free agent in January. Though England wouldn't be an option because of work permit restrictions, he would be an enticing option in other leagues — such as the Bundesliga — especially given his age, talent and price tag.

If United goes through with the plan to sit Hamid, it could do some serious damage to a decade-plus-long relationship between the club and a player who came up in the team's academy system before signing as a homegrown player and becoming an All-Star and U.S. national team selection. That said, if United doesn't believe Hamid is going to re-sign, then giving Clark or Klenofsky some starts down the stretch is understandable — even though it may mean even worse results from a team already enduring a terrible season.