18-year-old Colombian forward Jhon Durán put on a show last night in the Chicago Fire’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC, so it should come as no surprise that he was voted as the MLS Player of the Week in week 20.
Durán was given the nod to start by head coach Ezra Hendrickson following a pair of impressive performances in the previous two games. With merely three minutes on the clock, his pressing high up the field forced a turnover, and after a quick one-two with Chris Mueller, Durán found himself bearing down on goal. He slipped the ball past the goalkeeper, giving the Fire an early lead.
soooo i'm obsessed with this pic.twitter.com/hYZNVv1OgT— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) July 14, 2022
12 minutes later, he doubled his tally. Fellow 2003-born player Brian Gutiérrez set up the chance with an inch-perfect backheel pass, and Durán once again found himself through on goal. He had to ride a few challenges from defenders but displayed his physical prowess and he got through one-on-one and smashed the ball into the net for 2-0.
Jhon Durán says that he dedicated this game to his father, whose birthday is today. He scored two goals against Toronto FC.— Alex Calabrese (@amcalabrese12) July 14, 2022
“Mi papá que está cumpliendo años hoy… dedicarle este partido a él.”#cf97 #vamosfirepic.twitter.com/YxPTjnuMJp
It took quite a while, but it seems now that Durán has won the starting job from Kacper Przybyłko. While the Polish striker has been overwhelmingly disappointing on the field since arriving this offseason, Ezra Hendrickson has mostly stuck with the more experienced option up front.
“[Kacper]’s been in a slump and we decided to make the change,” said Hendrickson after the match on Wednesday. “But you know, it was his position to lose and some may say he should have lost it earlier.”
“It’s a healthy competition that we have on the team,” added Durán when asked after the match about not starting for most of the year. “It’s like waiting for your time, your moment, and doing what you know how to do.”
After waiting for his moment for most of the season, Durán certainly seized it and showed a glimpse of the potential that the Fire knew they were signing when they picked him up from Envigado. The medical team will have to assess an ankle knock that Durán sustained following repetitive fouls by the opposition, but if he is good to go, he will have another chance to solidify his spot and continue his ascent as the Fire take on the Seattle Sounders at home on Saturday at 7 PM.