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Final Exams: Kevin Kratz

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What to make of the back-up midfielder.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Atlanta United FC John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Kratz (Kratzinho)

Position: Midfielder

Games Played: 20

Goals: 1

Assists: 1

Acquired via trade with the Philadelphia Union for next to nothing (a 4th round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft), Kevin Kratz was... a warm body. It’s hard to identify how exactly he helped the team due to the way he was used. Although he appeared in 20 matches, he only played more than 15 minutes in 10 of them. Unlike some of the other veterans on the team who played in positions with less depth, Kratz was stuck behind the likes of Carlos Carmona and Miguel Almiron in central midfield for much of the season.

What went right this season: Kevin Kratz is without a doubt the best free kick taker on the team. It’s how he scored his only goal of the season, and if there’s always value for a player with that quality on an MLS team. And for a player who only appeared sporadically, it’s a credit to him that he seemed, for the most part, “switched on” and mentally ready whenever called upon

What does he need to improve on: Kratz needs to play with a bit more bravery going forward. Too often he’d quickly pass the ball back, putting the team on the back foot. I’d like to see him be more progressive with his passing.

What role will he play in 2018: It’s hard to see him as anything more than he was this season — a backup to the star midfielders. There’s a good chance a player in his role will be required to play more though, and with youngster Chris Goslin on the come-up, he will have a fight on his hands to maintain his reserve role as a veteran player.

Grade: C+