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Copa America Postmortem: Perry Kitchen

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The co-winner of this summer's Mix Diskerud award will be looking to assert himself in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe.

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Perry Kitchen's move to Heart of Midlothian was probably a pretty important one for a player looking to break out of MLS and land somewhere in Europe. He not only found a home across the pond, but also a spot in the Europa League and first-choice consideration in the squad's lineup. Kitchen was brought to the Copa America ostensibly as another option in the defensive midfield to push Kyle Beckerman, but in practice this didn't really play out in any meaningful way, at least not to the public eye. Possibly impressing someone in training is one thing, and actual game time is another. And by another, I mean something that Kitchen didn't get this summer.

Games: 0

Minutes: 0

Splinters from Riding Pine: probably a couple

Positives

The fact that Kitchen made this roster is a pretty big positive for him, considering he seemed to be out in the cold behind people like Danny Williams and Alfredo Morales in the discussion for the future of the defensive midfield. But he made this team, and they did not. So: good on ya, Perry.

Negatives

Not touching the field is definitely a negative. Even if Klinsmann's reliance on Kyle Beckerman is misplaced at this stage in his career, it doesn't even seem like Kitchen is touching Beckerman's status as a defensive midfield option and emergency stop-gap. Kitchen is still 24, relatively young by U.S. development standards (Beckerman made his World Cup debut in his 30s, after all), but when you're a fully-formed adult and a guy a decade older than you is still getting his name called instead of yours, it has to hurt.

Copa Grade - Incomplete

If I had to grade it, not seeing the field would probably earn a not good grade, but there was not actual play to judge from, so Kitchen gets a pass.

What's Next

Hearts are a decent club, but Scotland has to be a stepping stone for Kitchen if he wants to get any sort of meaningful playing time with the U.S. He has more opportunities to shine on brighter stages, yes (again, he's already played in the Europa League this summer), and could more easily transition to a bigger league now that he's cleared the hurdle of working in Europe for the first time. On the other hand, the Scottish Premier League might have a worse standard of play than MLS, despite being heavy-loaded at the top. And even then, while I assume Celtic will advance after their home tie, they did just lose to a semi-pro team in Gibraltar. Scotland can make Kitchen more visible, but it probably won't make him that much better at the game. So, his path is pretty straightforward: play really well for Hearts and jump at the chance to move to a better league if and when it comes.