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Chris Durkin returns to D.C. United after quarterfinal run at U-20 World Cup

The midfielder is suspended for Wednesday’s Open Cup game, but immediately returned to D.C. to link up with United.

On Saturday, D.C. United midfielder Chris Durkin was with the USA U-20 team in Poland, hoping to reverse the recent quarterfinals hex for the Red, White, and Blue. Unfortunately for the 19-year-old midfielder, Durkin was back with the Black-and-Red on Monday, taking part in a rainy training session.

It wasn’t to be for Durkin and his US teammates against Ecuador, falling 2-1. It was the third time in a row that the US men’s U-20 side had faltered at that stage. Still, Durkin started four of the five games in Poland, going the distance in each game, as the US won three of their five games.

“I know we could have won that game, and I think we had a group to win it all,” Durkin told B&RU after Monday’s practice. “It hurts, [but] overall, it was an amazing learning experience.”

Back in the fall of 2017, the homegrown player was part of the US U-17 team that similarly made a run to the quarterfinals before bowing out of the tournament to England, the eventual champions. Playing in these two tournaments was part of United’s plan for Durkin back when they signed him in June 2016.

The one game Durkin missed at the U-20 World Cup was the team’s biggest win, a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over one of the tournament favorites, France, in the Round of 16. In helping the USA advance out of the group, Durkin picked up two yellow cards, earning a suspension for the date against France.

“I wish I was in the game against France, yellow card accumulation can get you sometimes,” said Durkin.

But Tab Ramos elected to insert Durkin back into the starting lineup in the quarterfinals against the South American champions. The US fought back from one deficit in the first half, but couldn’t find a second equalizer. Still, Durkin was proud of the team’s performance, and expects to see much more from the group in the future.

“Overall, a really talented group,” Durkin said of the team. “And I think you’re going to see a lot more from everybody on that roster.”

It was a bit of a surprise to see Durkin back out on the training field on Monday with United, as it hadn’t been 48 hours since the defeat to Ecuador. United have an Open Cup tilt against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, a game in which Durkin is ineligible to play in thanks to a red card in last year’s defeat to Orlando City.

But Durkin wanted to get back home right away, and will take the time to take a breather over the next couple of days, hoping that United will advance in the Open Cup, to give him a chance to play in the next round.

“I love being back with the boys. This is my job and I love it,” Durkin told B&RU, when asked why he was right back at training for United. “I love being on the field, and love being with everybody in the locker room. Just wanted to get back into it.”

“Hopefully the guys get the job done on Wednesday, and I get to come in for next week.”