WASHINGTON – In a season where D.C. United have battled a litany of injuries, the player who’s logged the most minutes on the team should come as no surprise: Perry Kitchen.
The club’s ironman central midfielder has missed only one match in 2013, played and started all 32 last season and started 30 matches in his rookie campaign.
The player who has logged the second-most minutes, however, might come as a surprise.
Outside back Chris Korb has logged 2,070 minutes in 23 matches (all starts) this year after appearing in 26 and starting 22 last season.
The third-year MLS player has spent his entire career with United and D.C. coach Ben Olsen continues to show faith in him by inserting him into his starting XI.
“He’s coming along,” Olsen said of Korb. “We have this conversation with Korb a lot. He’s got all the tools necessary to be a very good right back in this league. And he’s getting there. But there are certain aspects where we’re asking more of him. He’s a great kid and he wants to learn and continue to grow. We’re exciting about having him.”
Indeed, while Korb has provided a measure of consistency in the starting XI for Olsen, he hasn’t recorded a goal or an assist this season. Korb said the final ball and his crosses into the box in the attacking third are something he’s been working to fine-tune this season, along with his positioning.
“I’m always trying to improve and just to be consistent over the long season,” Korb said. “I think I’ve done some things better, but there are a lot of things I still need to work on. There’s always stuff you can learn.”
Korb played more than 2,000 minutes last year as well, though the team’s performance was far different as United reached the Eastern Conference finals. Along with learning lessons on the pitch, the 25-year-old Korb and his teammates have had to stay mentally tough while being in last place for nearly the entire season.
“We’re still a young team. It’s not like guys are settled in or have a [guaranteed] spot,” Korb said. “Everyone’s sort of fighting for a spot in that Open Cup game and even for next year, to be here. We just to have some pride. No one here likes tying or losing. We’re here to win and we work all week to win.”