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D.C. United Roster Depth To Earn Early Defensive Test

Perry Kitchen was an important part of United's win on Saturday. Too bad he'll now be missing for two weeks.
Perry Kitchen was an important part of United's win on Saturday. Too bad he'll now be missing for two weeks.

The back four for D.C. United deserve a good amount of credit for the team’s 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew in the 2011 MLS opener on Saturday night. They did a great job of limiting the Crew’s attack, giving up very few legitimate chances other than some free kicks and corner kicks.

Don’t get too used to seeing Jed Zayner , Perry Kitchen , Dejan Jakovic , and Marc Burch together on the back-line though. Only two of them (at most) are likely to start against the New England Revolution this coming Saturday.

Kitchen has already departed from D.C. to begin training with the U.S. U-20 National Team in Dallas this week, and will miss at least the next two regular season games for United. The U-20’s face Suriname on March 29 and Panama on April 2, and if the U.S. finishes in the top two of that three-team group (we’d all be shocked if they didn’t), Kitchen and the rest of his team will compete in the FIFA U-20 World Cup from July 29-August 20 in Columbia.

We knew that Kitchen would miss some time this year due to international commitments. That’s why we brought in Rodrigo Brasesco , who has looked good enough in limited work that we shouldn’t be too worried about Kitchen’s absence. I actually think Kitchen himself should be the only one worrying, because he might find his starting job has disappeared by the time he gets back.

But we didn’t expect having to play without two of our regular starters on the back-line this early in the season. Jed Zayner picked up a hamstring injury on Saturday night, and he may have to miss the trip to Foxboro. In his press conference after the game, Ben Olsen specifically mentioned rookie Chris Korb as a potential replacement for Zayner. I guess that would maintain our quota of having one rookie Akron defender in the starting lineup at all times.

I was personally a bit pessimistic about our defense’s chances last week against Andres Mendoza, Emilio Renteria , and Robbie Rogers of the Crew. Fortunately, Rob Warzycha let us off the hook a bit by using only one of those three dynamic attackers. I wouldn’t expect Steve Nicol to make the same tactical errors as Warzycha, but we may get a bit lucky once again as Marko Perovic had to be removed from the Revolution’s match against the Los Angeles Galaxy yesterday after suffering a hamstring injury, and Ousmane Dabo and Didier Domi each were held out due to injury.