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Discussion in 'DC United' started by itwasi, May 15, 2012.
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This really is a new team. Kitchen and Cruz should be both out for the season.
Looks like he could be back for the Revolution match on the 26th. We can't afford to lose any more defensive players.
It's funny how towards the end of last year and this preseason quite a few posters were very cool on Kitchen. Too young and inexperienced to play DM, is he really an upgrade over Simms?, not ideal for RB either etc ... etc ....
Just a few games in the starting lineup and the entire organization and fanbase holds its collective breath in anticipation of this MRI.
Can we finally put it to rest? Kitchen is the real deal. Mentally he's already the ideal professional ... now we know his joints are made of iron too.
He's almost Ritchie Williams-esque. Though there is some growing (or, shrinking, I suppose) to be done.
I've always liked him, but I don't know that it's time to declare him the "real deal" just yet. Let's see how he finishes this season, and if he come back and start next year in the same fashion, I think we've probably closed the case.
I think the reaction in the United nation is more along the lines of he's the best and only show in town, so we're doomed without him.
This is close to my position. I don't think he's a world-beater, or even an MLS-beater, yet. But the difference between how we play with him in that role, and how we play with someone else there, is big.
Heck, in our last match, I thought we were giving as good as we got to Houston up until he went out.
I don't think Kitch is an MLS beater by any means. It would be generous to rate him as one of the top 20 DMs in MLS, and there's only 19 teams.
But keeping things in perspective, how many of those top 20 DMs are 20 years old or younger? Kitch has played maybe 8 games at this level as a DM. When I rate him, I keep that in mind. When I rave about him, it's more about what I see in him compared to other 20 year old DMs I've seen come into the league in recent years.
To me Kitch is about as good as a young Beckerman minus the long range shot. Not saying he'll be the next Beckerman, but he'll be at least the next Larentowicz ... again minus the long range shot.
now that's absurd, he'd start on at least half the teams in the league right away. Always in the right spot and uncommonly good on the ball...the one thing that separates him from a player like Alonso right now is that he doesn't make that killer attacking pass right away very often. But he's learning.
There's a lot that separates Kitchen from Alonso right now. There's a lot that separates Kitchen from the Cuban defector who led Charleston against DCU in the Open Cup at RFK. I don't think Kitchen will ever be the player Alonso is. He might end up being better at disrupting opponents' attacks, but he'll never have Osvaldo's offensive skills -- not his dribbling or his passing. Perry's growing into his role as DM, which is good because he's lousy on the back line. He's not a skilled passer on the run. so AM is out, too. However, he will develop into a fine DM if he stays healthy.
It's unfair to compare Kitchen to Alonso. Alonso is a phenom that could easily play at a mid table Seria A or La Liga team. Against RSL Alonso was playing DM and was basically doing Burch's job coming back several to the LB spot to make big tackles. When in possession he's at the top of the box doing the AM job.
If you really watch Alonso it's hard to even call him a DM. You can't even call him a box to box guy ... his range is even bigger than that.
It's hard to 'rate the d-mids' once you get beyond the two obviously elite ones, Beckerman and Alonso. Joseph is still quite good, though maybe not as good as 2 or 3 years ago.
Most of the rest of them don't play the position by themselves in a diamond--they'll play two who defend more than they create (heck, SKC arguably plays 3 who do). Even a Larentowicz usually has help. (Going by player heat maps, Colorado seems to be playing an asymmetrical formation lately. On the right, Mullan is a touchline hugger, but on the left, Castrillon drifts into central midfield to help Larentowicz out.)
Where are you viewing these heat maps?
Go to MLS' web site or DCU's website and bring up the write-up of a match. If you're looking at it through MLS' web site, there'll be a tab at top of the story called "Chalkboard"; if you're looking at it on DCU's website, there'll usually be a link near the bottom of the write-up that says "Opta Chalkboard."
Bringing up that tab/link will give you a Flash app that lets you see where players spend most of their time, where their successful passes went, where they took shots from, and hundreds of other things.
The chalkboard feature is highly recommended for anyone who hasn't used it yet. You can see all kinds of neat things in there.
Here's a recent game from Colorado, the 2-1 loss to New England:
You can hover over anyone's name to get their heat map. You can see a clear difference between Castrillon, who is playing mostly like another central mid, and Mullan, who is the classic touchline right mid. Roughly the same pattern repeated itself against Dallas.
Does Benny know about this thing?
I don't think anyone's saying that Kitchen is a top 5 DM in MLS.
Its probably more fair to say that the following are all true:
- He is a "plus" player at DM for DC United, meaning that he's slightly above average for the league and absolutely "belongs" out there.
- He is 20 years old, so he's at the bottom of what is a pretty steep learning curve. In other words, he may be an average MLS guy right now, or slightly above -- but he is likely getting better every day.
- He has the mentality that this team needs right now, particularly with the injuries and question marks we have in the backline. A guy that is a committed defender and has some great lateral range gives our backline (including guys playing out of position like Woolard) a lot more confidence.
- He's tactically sharp enough and versatile enough to play some different positions in the second half that gives us some added flexibility should the tactical situation require it (e.g., moving to right back).
For all of these reasons, he's a guy we absolutely need right now. Comparing him to Alonso or Beckerman right now is silly. In 6 or 7 years, when he gets to their age and experience level, he'll likely be better than both are right now. He'll get tidier on the ball and be more capable in linking the attack. I really do believe that he's going to be a contributer for the USMNT down the line, in the 2018 cycle.
Pardo, O'Rourke, Beckerman and Juninho play quite a bit solo DM. Of course you're never really solo even in a diamond, you always hope that the AM helps out somewhat. In Beckerman's case he plays in a narrow midfield which means he doesn't have to do a ton of lateral work. Either way
You need to put down the crackpipe for serious.
Why, are you saying Kitchen is definitely in top 20 for MLS DMs? There are 4 DM DPs in the league ... 5 if you count Frings as a DM which is what he was at Bremen. So that's 5 for sure that have to be rated higher.
Then you have the heavy hitters like Alonso, Juninho, Beckerman, Pardo, Espinoza, Julio Cesar and Larentowicz. That's another 7 or so that would should easily rate higher than Kitchen.
And then you have the rest ... DMs that get lots of playing time, but aren't amazing. Players like Simms, Davidson, Jacobson, Hernandez, McCarty, Sarvas, O'Rourke and a few others. Kitchen would probably fall somewhere in the middle of that pack ... maybe near the top ... but it's hard to say since his experience there is such a small sample size.
As much as I like Kitchen, when comparing players I'm really only comparing their current playing level, not their bigger picture value. We'll see what Perry does down the stretch.
There's no doubt that Alonso, Beckerman, Hernandez, and Espinoza are better than Kitchen. But then there are a bunch of middling-to-good DMs like Juninho and Pardo. I'd certainly put Kitchen in that category...and he's only 20.
As to the others...McCarty has three games as a DM, O'Rourke is a professional wrestler not a midfielder, Frings is the second-worse DP on TFC that can play DM, and Simms*...really?
Anyhoo, I want some of what you're smoking if you thing Kitchen is the 20th best DM in MLS.
*I love Simms. I have a Simms jersey. No freaking way I'd approve of a Simms for Kitchen trade.
The easy way to rank it is to look at who United would undoubtedly trade Kitchen for, straight up (yes, I know there's some "expected future value" built into that equation, but not too much: Kitchen will likely be in Europe in 5 years)
Guys that I'd swap Kitchen for in a heartbeat right now:
Beyond that it gets a lot less clear cut, and you could make arguments either way.
Of course it is hard to compare, because Kitchen's more of a destroyer, or a 5th defender, than he is really great at linking the attack like a true holding midfielder (a la Beckerman). Its obvious that at this point, De Ro still needs to keep dropping back to help link the play in the attack. But Kitchen does what he does very well.
You can scratch Larentowicz off that list.
If you were talking about one-year-for-all-the-marbles, I'd take Beckerman, Alonso, Juninho, Pardo, Joseph. I'm having trouble thinking of anyone else that's clear-cut. Frings I'd theoretically take, except that Kitchen will contribute more by simply being able to play more.
There's no way I'd bite on Kitchen-for-Espinoza. Espinoza has a LOT of help from from Cesar and Zusi, and KC's system makes him look way better than he really is. Same deal to a lesser degree with Larentowicz. Chara? Haven't watched him that closely, but you've got a workhorse like Jewsbury right next to him, you'd think they'd be locking it down better than they are if he were that good.
Yep, Kitchen has potential to be CDM stalwart for years to come and I only see him improving. All about if the emphasis is all in now, or mix of now and later.