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By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Perry Kitchen
D.C. United, last in the Eastern Conference, has won just once in its last nine matches after Saturday's 1-1 tie against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium.
Five years ago, Kyle Porter's anonymity evaporated. That tends to happen when a soccer player takes his career to a top-flight club in Germany — even an 18-year-old prospect whose only action would come in reserve matches.
"You feel good one day and think, 'Oh, I'll be back on the field in a week or so,'" Woolard said. "And then the next day, you have a headache again. So it's frustrating because you never know the time frame."
United (1-1-0) stretched their home unbeaten run to 17 matches (13-0-4) with the win. Their last home loss came in last year's season opener against Kansas City.
Kitchen has carved a reputation as a valuable ally to D.C. United's defensive corps. He wins tackles in midfield, snuffing attacks in their infancy. He keeps the ball moving, preventing sustained pressure. Essentially, he gets them out of jams.
Over the course of nearly 10 months, D.C. United's winding path from playoff outsider to MLS Cup contender has taken the club through a grueling 34-game regular season and a trio of hectic postseason contests.
A raucous RFK Stadium crowd may have witnessed the theatrics of postseason soccer for the first time in five years Saturday, but neither D.C. United nor the New York Red Bulls seemed well cast as playoff contenders. When all was said and done, United and the Red Bulls found themselves deadlocked 1-1 after the first leg of their two-game, total-goals Eastern Conference semifinal.
In the world of soccer, conventional wisdom says a draw at home is far from ideal. When it comes to a two-game, total-goals series, in fact, the result can be downright disheartening.
Marcelo Saragosa didn't ask for much. One minute, he kept telling his coach, was all he needed.
Progress, Bill Hamid observes, is relative. And at 21 years old, the D.C. United goalkeeper is neither satisfied nor disconcerted by his evolution as a player.
For all the responsibility Perry Kitchen has assumed in his career, it's easy to forget the D.C. United midfielder is just 20 years old.
For Andy Najar, D.C. United's 19-year-old burst of flair and finesse on the right flank, representing Honduras in the London Games this summer is about the familiar Olympic tropes. History, patriotism and prestige all apply.
Lewis Neal achieved a major goal of his when D.C. United signed him in March.
Josh Wolff still is adjusting to his career's current duality. The part of a player-coach, he's come to learn, isn't one easily grasped. It takes time, awareness and an open mind.
For the better part of three weeks, D.C. United have had the luxury of enjoying their perch atop the Eastern Conference without the trouble of defending it. That time is coming to an end.
"He's a good connector from the back to the front," said Kitchen, who played with Jeffrey on the U.S. U-23 national team. "He's got good composure, he's good on the ball, he's a good passer."
"I like his game," midfielder Perry Kitchen said. "I definitely think it's getting better for him every game. He's getting more comfortable within the team, within the system. I think that's definitely showing as well. You can see he's getting more confidence to run at guys, to be dangerous, to get crosses off."