The 2014 MLS season is approaching fast with the first kickoff on March 8, so now is a good time to start thinking about your MLS Fantasy Soccer team. The best fantasy soccer game out there is over at MLSsoccer.com where they give you a budget of $120 million to make up a squad of 18 with a make-up of two goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and four forwards.
One of the most difficult things about this game is finding solid depth players who will be able to contribute while the higher valued players have byes or are out due to card accumulation or injury. In the midfield, though, there is one player who jumps off of the page as a must-have for any fantasy team; that player is D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen.
Kitchen will turn 22 in a week, but he is already entering his fourth season with United. He has been an anchor in the midfield for Ben Olsen’s club making 93 league starts logging 8,303 minutes in his three seasons to this point. One of the other pluses that Kitchen will bring to your squad is his ability to stay out of the referee’s pocket book; he has only acquired 12 yellow cards in his three seasons despite his aggressive defensive style.
Kitchen has been very consistent fantasy-wise over the last two seasons scoring season totals of 106 and 107, respectively; the 107 coming last season when D.C. United was the worst team in the league. This season, expect to see his numbers go up with all of the positive additions both offensively and defensively from D.C. United. The number of goals conceded will surely go down while the number of clean sheets will go up which will reflect positively in Kitchen’s fantasy value.
One of the only potential drawbacks that could hinder his success this season will be United’s participation in the CONCACAF Champions League toward the end of the regular season. United will want to be successful in that competition meaning they will likely start their strongest lineup possible. All of the extra travel and minutes could mean that Kitchen is held out of league games around that time.
Right now is the time to buy Kitchen as MLS has him valued at only $6.5 million, or only 5.4 percent of the total budget available. Kitchen may not be a player to start every week, but he will be a solid fill-in for the regular starters when they are not available to play.