D.C. United selected Akron and US U-20 midfielder/defender Perry Kitchen with the #3 overall pick today in the Major League Soccer Super Draft. Kitchen is widely regarded as the most talented overall player available in the draft and he fell to United when the Vancouver Whitecaps surprisingly chose US U-20 forward Omar Salgado with the top pick in the Draft and then Portland followed up with selecting Akron forward Darlington Nagbe ahead of Kitchen. The 18-year-old midfielder/defender will add some bite and talent to a United team in need of shoring up their defensive corp. Kitchen will most likely see his initial playing time as a defensive midfielder and might end up with a transition to central defense, not unlike Ryan Nelsen, current captain of Blackburn Rovers in the English Premiership. Unfortunately for United, they will miss the services of Kitchen during the qualifying stages of the U-20 World Cup and during the World Cup finals itself, should the US qualify as expected.
United’s other picks were Kitchen’s college teammate defender Chris Korb with the #31 pick overall and goalkeeper Joe Willis from Denver University at #50 overall. Korb, a left-sided defender, adds some depth to United’s squad as Marc Burch is recovering from injury along with the trading of Rodney Wallace in the off season. United then wrapped up their Super Draft selections by trading their top two 2011 Supplemental Draft picks to the Los Angeles Galaxy for the #50 pick overall and the Black-and-Red picked goalkeeper Joe Willis from Denver. Willis had a fantastic combine and with no official 3rd goalkeeper on the roster behind Steve Cronin and Bill Hamid, this pick makes sense with the expansion of rosters to 30 players and the Reserve League picking back up this upcoming season.
With United drafting two defensive minded players and a goalkeeper, naturally the questions put to head coach Ben Olsen and Technical Director Dave Kasper were about potential attackers coming to the squad. “We’ve got something in the works,” said Olsen with a wry smile of satisfaction. “We’ve got our eye on somebody.” “We feel with Chris Pontius coming back from injury that we’ve got a top pick already,” said Kasper minutes after the selection of Kitchen. “Having said that, we do have our eyes open and are looking internationally for some additional offense.”
United has two picks still remaining, both of which will be used in the Supplemental Draft which follows the 3-rounds of the today’s Draft.