After waiting over two-and-a-half months to make his club debut, Chris Durkin seems to be finding his groove for Belgium side Sint-Truiden.
The D.C. United loanee made his fourth consecutive start in all competitions on Sunday, playing 90 minutes in Sint-Truiden’s 1-1 home draw with Royal Antwerp. Despite the hosts breaking the deadlock in the 87th minute, Antwerp leveled the match in stoppage time with a penalty kick. Durkin reflected on the performance put in by himself and his teammates, which now has Sint-Truiden sitting 11th in the 16-team First Division.
“I’ve never felt so tired after a game,” Durkin said. “Both physically and mentally. We played a strong game and deservedly took the lead at the end. Unfortunately we took another goal in the 94th minute. That came hard. Then you feel all those meters extra.”
“We can nevertheless be proud. Antwerp is a very strong team. We knew that we had to be sharp every moment, otherwise they would strike. We played as a real team: everyone fought for each other and communication on the field was good too. I think we were also more dangerous than Antwerp. If you see two points slip through the fingers in the ultimate final phase, the disappointment is huge. This was really heartbreaking. I’m broken. I have the feeling that I have walked 20,000 kilometers. From box to box.”
Durkin arrived on loan in September from D.C. United, after totaling 37 appearances with the Black and Red in all competitions from 2018-19′. The 19-year-old lacked playing time down the stretch for Ben Olsen’s side, which forced him to possibly look elsewhere for the next longterm chapter of his career.
A former captain of the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, as well as a winner of seven caps with the U-20’s, Durkin’s loan with Sint-Truiden runs until June 2020. It is unsure if Durkin would immediately return to D.C. United during the middle of the MLS season, or the Belgian club would make a serious offer for the midfielder’s services. It is sure however that Durkin is enjoying the challenge of European Football and is savoring his time with the club.
“In the meantime I know very well what this club should stand for: roll up your sleeves and go through the fire for each other,” Durkin said. “Then you get extra support from the supporters. That is STVV. A style that suits me. I like to go for it one hundred percent.”
Sint-Truiden next travels to Waasland-Beveren on Dec. 26th before heading into a short winter break.