Erik Palmer-Brown has been a part of the United States youth teams at every level. On top of that, he's a left-footed defender who has impressed so much that Juventus reportedly offered Sporting Kansas City nearly $1 million for his services. So when the 17-year-old made his MLS debut on Sunday, it was a big deal -- it was also short.
Palmer Brown was sent off in the 64th minute after getting his second yellow card, making for an abbreviated first match.
When Palmer-Brown wasn't getting carded, he looked pretty good. The teenager was thrown into a three-man backline so it wasn't exactly an easy first match, but he acquitted himself well for the most part. He's clearly rangey and very calm on the ball, something that will delight Jurgen Klinsmann. With the exception a fefw plays, when he showed his immaturity, Palmer-Brown looked very capable.
The problem is that those few plays did happen. One was a bad giveaway, another was a missed mark and then, of course, the yellow card.
Palmer-Brown's first yellow card came on his a professional foul as the Fire were attacking with numbers so he stepped in front of Quincy Amarikwa and took the booking, but his second there wasn't much defense for. The 17-year-old was simply late and went in on a rash slide tackle, leaving the referee no choice but to show him another yellow card and reduce Sporting to 10 men.
It wasn't a debut to remember for Palmer-Brown, but it still marked another step for the defender and the U.S. development system. That a 17-year-old isn't just a target of a club like Juventus and a youth national team star, but also getting time for the defending MLS Cup champions is nothing to sneeze at. He's come through a MLS academy and he's made it to the senior team; that in itself is growth.