Taylor Kemp started out as one of those players that was a tweener between being with the Richmond Kickers full time and consistently being a part of D.C. United's 18-man roster on matchdays. The 24-year-old 2nd-year defender out of Maryland was stuck behind players like Christian, Chris Korb and Sean Franklin for playing time at the right back and left back positions as we entered the preseason. As the season started, we figured Kemp was destined for another season down in Richmond, but the first part of the season saw him mostly on the bench here in D.C. He did play 90 minutes in the U.S. Open Cup loss against the Rochester Rhinos on June 17th.
Then, August hit and with Christian already shipped out of D.C. and an injury to Chris Korb, Taylor Kemp had a chance to shine. Kemp took that opportunity...and boy did he run with it. Taylor Kemp started on August 3rd against the Houston Dynamo, but didn’t get any minutes the next week on the road against Real Salt Lake. Taylor Kemp was once again a part of the starting XI on August 17th against the Colorado Rapids. Two assists later, he had won the permanent starting job at left back and started the rest of the season minus the final regular season match against the Montreal Impact.
As the season progressed, we saw Kemp improve greatly on the wing and with his defense. His offensive ability, especially with the ball out on the flank, really helped our attack and our play on the wings. He won his starting role on the offensive end, with the 2 assists against Colorado and a goal against Houston in the first ever victory against the Dynamo in Houston on October 12th. Still, Kemp kept his starting job by also providing serviceable defense as well, meshing well with the rest of the back line and stepping up both in league play and in CONCACAF Champions League. At the end of the season, Kemp was one of our more dependable players on the roster and he was written into the starting lineups in ink at the left back position.
There are still questions on whether Taylor Kemp is the long-term answer at left back for the Black-and-Red. At 24, he still has the chance to develop further and he still has a relatively low salary cap number. However, he can still play a little green at times, particularly inside the 18 on defense, and there is the possibility that the team wants to look in a different direction to fill the full-time starting role at left back. Still, even if the team finds an answer for the starting job, Kemp could be young and serviceable enough to stay on to provide depth for a team that will have at least 8 more games next season in CCL play as well as MLS and U.S. Open Cup play.
So, we ask you: