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D.C. United Season Review: Perry Kitchen

We examine the future senior National Team hopeful and core player of D.C. United.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

How Perry Kitchen came to D.C. United was the result of some happenstance, with the Vancouver Whitecaps drafting Omar Salgado, who they have now since released, and the Portland Timbers drafting Kitchen's Akron University teammate Darlington Nagbe. In trivia, another Akron man Zarek Valentin was drafted fourth by Chivas USA, where he was later claimed in the expansion draft by the Montreal Impact and later to the Norwegian First Division.

Kitchen came to D.C.'s lineup immediately, bouncing between defensive midfielder and right back, but moved into the former almost exclusively in 2012. And despite players like Bill Hamid and Chris Pontius having a year or more of MLS experience over him, it is Kitchen who has played the most games of the three since 2011. In fact, Kitchen's 124 games of regular season play are a shade behind Pontius' 129 and ahead of Hamid's 115. Oh, and of the three, remains the youngest, in the final days of his 22nd year (stipulations to his February 29th birthday aside) when D.C. plays Alajuelense in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal.

With the arrival of Davy Arnaud in D.C. United's midfield, Kitchen thrived in his role of serving as one half of a pendulum with Arnaud serving as the other. His five goals smashed his career high, and he slowly started receiving mainstream attention for a spot on the 2018 United States World Cup roster should the team get there of course, but his performance this year would have to ensure some space in Jurgen Klinsmann's January training camp.

Oh, and he gave us this:

and this:

With Arnaud in the middle, he and Kitchen would help track back and play deep next to the center backs Bobby Boswell, Jeff Parke and Steve Birnbaum, thus trying to push teams wide or into difficult low-scoring opportunities. With Arnaud in the middle, Kitchen did not have as much of the ball (WhoScored had him with two fewer passes per game than in 2013, 47.1 to 45.1), but his passing accuracy went from 82.5% in 2013 to 85.9% in 2014.

For his work as a presumed future CDM, one could make the case that it wasn't until his fourth year in MLS that he really started learning the position. 2014 saw him experience more dispossessions per game, and was second in the League in Yellow Cards (11) and in Fouls Committed. His 65 were also second in MLS behind Diego Chara's (83), but for a guy who had committed no more than 44 fouls in any of his first three seasons, his newfound aggression was both surprising and, considering the disciplinary ramifications, a little reckless.

While the question below would appear to be a formality, I'll ask anyway.