Chris Durkin was slated to be part of the MLS Homegrown Game tonight in Atlanta, as part of the All-Star Game festivities taking place this week for Major League Soccer. Instead, United’s 18 year old homegrown defensive midfielder was at practice with United today, as he and the team agreed that it would be best for him to not participate in the game.
“It was collective,” Head Coach Ben Olsen told reporters after practice on Tuesday, of the decision to keep Durkin out of the game. “He’s had a lot of minutes, and he’s a young kid. A lot of these kids in that game aren’t playing regular soccer. It’s another trip, another game, that I’m not sure he needs at this point.”
Durkin has been with the Black-and-Red since June 2016, but he only played in Open Cup games his first two seasons with the team, as he spent most of his time with the U-17 national team, preparing for the World Cup last October. This year, Durkin has featured in all but one of United’s 18 games, starting on 12 occasions.
Out of all the players named to the roster, Durkin had the third most minutes in MLS play this year. Only Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty, defenders with the Philadelphia Union, have more minutes than Durkin in 2018.
Durkin would have been the second ever Black-and-Red player to have suited up in the homegrown game had he played tonight. Jalen Robinson, currently in his 5th year with the team, was part of the game in 2015 and 2016.
The game this year is against the U-20 team of Tigres, one of the best teams in Mexico and North America in recent years.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa, who were named to the MLS All-Star team, will be forced to miss their team’s next games as they withdrew from the game against Juventus tomorrow night. D.C. United expect that Durkin will be available this weekend for the trip to the Montreal Impact.