With D.C. United holding the third overall pick in the 2011 MLS Superdraft, we are profiling some of the top players that United may be choosing from on Jan. 13. Also, be sure to check out the SBNation.com mock draft, in which bloggers representing all 18 clubs will be drafting this Wednesday Jan. 5 at 9:00 PM.
Akron's freshman defensive midfielder Perry Kitchen is the top rated player in the 2011 MLS Superdraft according to Soccer By Ives.
Capable of playing defensive midfield, centerback or even right back, Kitchen is arguably the best long-term prospect in the draft. Currently in negotiations with MLS, Kitchen is a U.S. Under-20 standout and lock Top Three pick.
Kitchen started all 25 of Akron's games, scoring six goals and adding one assist. He seems to be a picky but accurate shooter - his 0.400 shooting percentage led the team.
In this story from the Plain Dealer in December, Kitchen and coach Caleb Porter each described the freshman's position with the team.
"I think I bring something to the team: a hard-nosed defender, which I think is good for us," Kitchen said. "It's just in my nature. It's what I do; tackle people and win the ball. Use your body, win the ball off of them. If you commit a foul, it's obviously not good defending, so you have to do it without committing a foul."
... Porter: "You could just tell in his presence, his drive, his competitiveness, just the way he kind of ran the midfield. He just had this swagger about him."
As Ives mentioned, Kitchen can play center back, but his best position seems to be central defensive midfield, which isn't exactly the biggest need for DC United. If they're looking for someone to work with and learn from Branko Boskovic, Dax McCarty, and Clyde Simms, Kitchen could be targeted. But on a team with so many other needs, should United be looking for a player who might not necessarily crack the starting lineup? Or is it worth it to take the best player available?