2017 was a season that saw Chris Durkin, the 17-year-old Homegrown Player from Glen Allen, Virginia, begin to see more action everywhere except for D.C. United. The fifth-youngest homegrown signing in the history of the league, Durkin was not expected to feature much this season for the Black-and-Red. The gameplan for his development was to get him into more games while he starred for the United States as part of the U-17 Men’s National Team. Most of that was done on the USL level.
Durkin did not log a single minute for D.C. United in a league match this season, only making the 18 in Week 12 against the Chicago Fire. He did start for the team in the U.S. Open Cup match against Christos FC on June 13th. Most of his appearances on the club level came with the Richmond Kickers, D.C. United’s USL affiliate. There, he started 11 matches and went the full 90 in each of them.
Chris Durkin is still learning how to really be a good defensive midfielder who can set up the attack while still getting involved. This year, we saw more consistency from him there. He had a 81.7% pass success rate, with more than 1/3 of those passes sent forward. He’s improving at sending the ball long as well, with a 57.9% success rate on long passes (62/107). He has become more comfortable with the ball at his feet, with 52.6 passes per 90 minutes with Richmond. He registered 12 key passes and 7 open play crosses, winning 19 fouls and having 11 shots (4 on target).
On defense, while he maintains some consistency, he still has room to grow and improve. He won 19/23 tackles (82.6%) and won 49.6% of his duels (62/125) and 14/30 aeriel duels (46.7%). He also registered 17 interceptions, 16 clearances, and 4 blocks for the Kickers. Still, with him being young and still learning to be strong on the field, these numbers will only go up.
It is with the United States U-17 MNT where Durkin’s diamond status truly shined bright. He appeared in 13/15 matches for the U-17s (12 starts), and he was a mainstay in the midfield for the Americans. He even wore the armband against El Salvador in the group stages of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, and started every game for the U.S. during the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Durkin even scored two goals for country. The first one was against Jamaica in the opener of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship:
He also scored against hosts India in the opener of the FIFA U-17 World Cup:
He had some great matches on the youth international level, and it’s now time for him to take that confidence and build upon it on the club level.
D.C. United’s future is bright, and Chris Durkin has a chance to be a part of that future. He has the skills to develop into a formidable defensive midfielder for the Black-and-Red. Still, there are question marks on whether he is ready to play with the first team on a regular basis and compete for minutes in a midfield with Russell Canouse, Ian Harkes, Jared Jeffrey, Rob Vincent, and Marcelo Sarvas. We leave it to you:
Do you want Chris Durkin back for the 2018 season?
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