Editorial (January 18, 2018) – Earlier this month, the LA Galaxy signed former D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen to a TAM level contract. The 25-year-old is certainly an upgrade to midfield, there are multiple parts of this signing for Galaxy supporters to be concerned about.
The Perry Kitchen Signing: An Upgrade for LA Galaxy But Imperfect
Kitchen comes to the LA Galaxy from Randers FC in Denmark. Prior to that, he was at Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League where he was at one point the captain. Kitchen turned professional in 2011 after being drafted by D.C. United. He played five seasons with United, making 158 appearances.
Make no mistake, outside of Jonathan dos Santos, Perry Kitchen is the best central midfielder the LA Galaxy now have on their roster. He’s the best holding midfielder on this roster, with the only other options being Joao Pedro, Baggio Husidic, and recently signed Servando Carrasco. Carrasco and Husidic going to be a bench players on this team. If they are starting, something has gone wrong (lots of injuries or a starter falling significantly out of form).
Pedro had some good moments in 2017, but struggled at times with the learning curve of Major League Soccer (and playing next to Jermaine Jones). Now Kitchen is coming in to sure up the No. 6 role and possibly free up Jonathan dos Santos to be more involved in the offense.
Good but not a Significant Upgrade:
Kitchen is a better player than Joao Pedro. When he was playing well for Hearts, he was a fringe United States Men’s National Team player. At his peak in MLS, he was one of the best American holding midfielders in the league. The Perry Kitchen signing will absolutely make the Galaxy a better team.
That said, Pedro is still a decent player with potential. Prior to the Carrasco signing, this was a position where the Galaxy needed depth. This was not a position of starting need though, especially given Pedro’s transfer fee before the start of last season. Given the Galaxy already have Carrasco and Husidic, central midfield was not a position of need. Nor was it a priority.
At the end of the day, Kitchen won’t solve the Galaxy’s offensive or defensive problems they had in 2017. The rebuilt back line will be more significant in fixing the defense. Now lets talk about offense.
Not a Priority and a Misallocation of Resources:
Head Coach Sigi Schmid has made it clear: the LA Galaxy need a striker. They’ve reportedly been searching for options both in MLS and internationally. The Galaxy spent $100,000 in General Allocation Money and $200,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to get his rights from D.C. He was then signed using TAM. Kitchen’s salary isn’t known yet as of the publishing of this article.
The Galaxy currently have no open Designated Player spots. They have no open International slots. Moving one of their DPs or International players at this point doesn’t seem easy or likely. This limits the options the Galaxy have for filling their biggest hope going into 2018.
That $300,000 were resources the Galaxy could be using to get a striker. If the team was going into the season with Pedro and Dos Santos in central midfield, that’s not the end of the world. With both players going into their second year in MLS, they could be very successful. Instead, the Galaxy chose to dumb a lot of money to upgrade at a position they were fine at.
If the Galaxy’s 2018 season is a failure in part due to lack of production up top, this off-season will be part to blame. And so will the front office’s choice to spend money where they did instead of at the striker position. This Perry Kitchen signing will then come under scrutiny as a non-priority upgrade at a position and a poor allocation of allocation money.