SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Perry Kitchen

PerryKitchen (Getty)

Perry Kitchen isn't naturally a right fullback, but you wouldn't have guessed it watching him hold his own against FC Dallas standout Brek Shea.

Kitchen, the No. 3 pick in the 2010 MLS Draft, did his part in helping contain Shea as D.C. United escaped Pizza Hut Park with a 0-0 tie last weekend. The performance was good enough to help Kitchen earn SBI MLS Rookie of the Week honors.

Kitchen followed up teammate Ethan White, who was last week's winner, and beat out the likes of Chicago's Jalil Anibaba and Chivas USA's Zarek Valentin for this week's nod.

What did you think of Kitchen's performance? What rookie impressed you this week?

Share your thoughts below.

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31 Responses to SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Perry Kitchen

  1. Goose says:

    This kid is such a beast. Ives was right with all the hype he gave Kitchen heading into the draft.

  2. Chris_B says:

    Any guesses for when he gets a look with the Nats? The pool has home good young options in the back and the should get better.. Not a bad problem to have considering how the US defense has performed of late.

  3. Eurosnob says:

    Chris, let Perry Kitchen have a season or two at MLS before talking about his international career. Tim Ream is in his second MSL season, but he struggled mightily against the speed and physicality of international competition in the Gold Cup and was eventually benched.

  4. 4n0n says:

    The January camp next year will be interesting, just as a DC United fan. You’ve got Davies working back into form, Chris Pontius (who got injured at the camp 2 years ago), Ethan White and Perry Kitchen all clamoring for BB’s attention with their play of late. Not to mention Bill Hamid, who’s been in beast mode for the past couple games. Exciting time in the Capital.

  5. Rob says:

    Great pick! I have watch Kitchen and DCU all season…. and I still have a hard time believing that he is a rookie! He’s been a constant for Ben Olson…. playing CB, RB, and even some spells at CDM.

    He’s one of the reasons that DCU has been able to rebound from last year’s performance so well.

  6. Goose says:

    Dunno about the senior team, but Kitchen is a pretty good bet for Olympic qualifying.

  7. JoeW says:

    KItchen if a fine RB but it remains to be seen if that’s his ultimate position in MLS. I keep thinking of Ryan Nelson who was a DM out of college and kind of bounced around a bit position-wise before it got converted to CB and then made an outstanding career in MLS and the Premiership (and even internationally) at that position.

    Everyone agrees that Kitchen is a fine leader, is mature of his years, is a good organizer. But he’s still not even 20 and pairing him with a raw Ethan White or a raw Rodrigo Braseco in central defense resulted in some “boys against men” games (where DCU’s central defense just got bullied around by players who know what it means to play in congested space and fight for balls). Moving him to right back was a combination of need (Namoff’s career over due to concussions, Zayner has chronic injury problems) and the need to get a combination of experience and physical play/size in the middle (Jakovic and White and now MacDonald and White).

    Kitchen is one of those players who may not show up on the USMNT side for another 4 years. But he’s got a lot of elements right now that many young defenders don’t have and never acquire (in terms of cool head, composure, leadership, organization. Once he gets a bit older, adds a bit more muscle, gets more experience, learns to consistently be tough (like obstructing runners off the ball–stuff that veterans do and rookies don’t), he’ll end up being a strong NT candidate b/c he’s the kind of guy who also makes the other people on the backline better. He doesn’t have Ream’s distribution out of the back but he’s got better defensive traits (quickness, pace) and is exactly the kind of asset that Ream can be for the Nats (in that he brings some pieces to the equation that US defenders typically haven’t had).

  8. DCUPedro says:

    Nobody is talking about calling him in for Belgium or Mexico. The point is when he will get a look by Bob. We have camp cupcake in January for players in Kitchen’s exact situation — its for our farm team, the guy’s whose development we want to keep an eye on.

    IMO, Kitchen deserves a call-up to January’s camp. Unlike the other young players USMNT fans salivate over, the reason he projects so well at the international level is not athletic ability or “ball skill” (i.e. does he dribble and take players on), but knowledge of the game, a 90 minute motor that never shuts down, technical sufficiency for his position, and mental toughness and focus unmatched at his age level. He is the anti-Freddy Adu. Which is what you want at CDM/Defense. I think you could argue that he is a similar player to Michael Bradley at 19, and more versatile in the back 4/DM.

    Give him time before you plug him into 2014 lineups, but I think he gets a look in January 2012 against whichever scandanavian country’s domestic side we schedule.

  9. hogatroge says:

    Let’s be honest… the earlier we can temper promising young players in international play, the better. The generation gap is starting to affect the Nats and physicality and athleticism aren’t cutting it in the face of raw skill, as shown by the Gold Cup.

    The sooner Kitchen gets a trial by fire, preferably against Costa Rica, the better in my opinion. He’s a versatile player, which to me indicates raw talent.

    Also, Tim Ream was inconsistent in the Gold Cup… he only played two matches and looked solid in one of them, so saying he struggled is a bit disingenuous.

  10. hogatroge says:

    Plus, international play is the best way for young players to get noticed by European coaches.

  11. Stephen says:

    So we’ve got Lichaj, Chandler and Kitchen as up-and-comers for the Nats? Maybe this is a good sign? I don’t think our outside backs are as much of a problem with Lichaj, Chandler, and now Kitchen coming up…we need to find CBs. McDonald, Edu, (Clark an Goodson for the near future), Ream, Opara, and Gonzalez should all be in the mix.

  12. Goose says:

    I don’t think Kitchen projects long-term as an outside back. The fact that he’s performed there so well in his rookie season is testament to how good he is all around.

  13. Stephen says:

    Well either way. Where would he play, CB or MF?

  14. Commish says:

    It’s great to see Kevin Love has taken up soccer during the lockout

  15. northzax says:

    I think DC sees him as a CB long term. Which is where he started the season. Injuries and necessity forced him out wide. He’s not ready yet, but another year in MLS, combined with Olympic qualifying and probably the tournament next year could get him there. Maybe not by ’14 though.

    By the way, DCU is going to get shredded for Olympic qualifying and the tournament next year. Likely to lose Kitchen, Hamid, Najar and potentially White at the least. That’s a lot of starters…

  16. shoe says:

    Coming from an FC Dallas fan’s biased perspective, Loyd and George John are quite good as well. George John especially. Get him before Greece does.

  17. shane says:

    No way, he is not ready. Perhaps the Olympic team.

  18. PD says:

    unless he can play left back in which case call him yesterday. a divot in the field is a better alternative than what we have going on right now.

  19. boosted335 says:

    John is on another level but thats another topic. Kitchen stood out to me everytime DC and FCD played He has potential and we’ll be hearing his name for years to come

  20. Eurosnob says:

    Look, I just don’t want him to be thrown into the international game before he is ready. As a DCU fan, you know that Kitchen had some growing pains in the MLS earlier this season and is now turning things around with several good performances. No worries, he’ll get to the senior team level eventually.

  21. fischy says:


  22. fischy says:

    Ultimately, I think he’ll settle in at defensive midfield, when Simms is aged out of the starting lineup.

  23. Adam says:

    Three of Akron U’s four starting defenders are starting in MLS this year. That was a stacked D..

  24. Adam says:

    Although I guess Kitchen played DM most of the time for Akron… regardless…

  25. Dennis says:

    I hope Kitchen does not get called up soon. A january camp situation would be good. He is a young player with some skill and athleticism. He still needs to learn the tactical awareness required to be an international level defender, and he could use a bit more meat on his bones in order to take the abuse some professional forwards will inflict on him.

    I suspect he will gain tactical and physical maturity in a few years and will play a role in 2014 or 2018, but defenders generally take more than a year of playing professionally before they have that maturity.

    Said another way, lets not throw him out to get chewed up and castigated by the “ever-forgiving” Ives’ readers.

  26. Eurosnob says:

    Dude, no one disputes that Kitchen has raw talent, but he is not that far removed from the game where DCU allowed Houston to score 4 goals and Kitchen was beaten on a couple of them. I just don’t want to rush a talented young defender to play against higher level competition before he is ready. Also, there’s nothing disingenuous about saying that Tim Ream struggled in the Gold Cup. The reason that he only played in two matches was due to his struggles. Ream was abused in the Panama game and the penalty he surrendered was due to a dumb rookie mistake proved to be costly. As for Canada game, I don’t think we can draw any meaningful conclusions about Ream’s defensive performance, I don’t think Canada tested our defense that much.

  27. Eurosnob says:

    JoeW, I agree.

  28. DCUPedro says:

    Did he have growing pains, or was he just learning a new position? The guy has been pretty steady throughout. He played deep-lying center-Mid in college, then had to adjust to MLS as a Central Defender, then played Right Back. He hasn’t looked bad at any of those positions, and right back was a learning curve for him.

    I’m not saying he should be on the “senior team” in the sense that I want him playing with Deuce and Landon or anything, but I can’t see why he isn’t ready to play with the likes of Omar Gonzalez and Zach Loyd in January. With guys at his age, you need to continue to test them against a slightly higher level in order to develop them.

  29. Clvoer362 says:

    OK so Shea made good runs behind Kitchen at least 3 times in the FC dallas DCU game but bad service prevented it showing up on the score sheet. Not saying Kitchen isn’t good but I could tell he wasn’t really respecting Shea’s Speed and got burned.

  30. Thorpinski says:

    For me..Ethan White has been the more impressive rookie lately

  31. boosted335 says:

    I was checking for him (white) in the game vs. fcd and didnt see what the hoopla was about…but thats only 1 game.

    I will say he played better than brandon Mcdonald!!