FC Cincinnati forward Jurgen Locadia eager to prove himself following loan extension

Jurgen Locadia - FC Cincinnati - Running

Jurgen Locadia was just two games in to his FC Cincinnati career when the 2020 MLS season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thrusting his future with the club into uncertainty, with his loan from Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion originally set to expire on July 5.

Locadia had stated his desire to remain with Cincinnati, and on Friday, he officially got his wish as the club announced an agreement with Brighton to extend the date of his original loan to June 30, 2021, with Cincinnati holding a permanent transfer option at the loan's conclusion. Now, Locadia says he's eager to tend to some unfinished business as he resumes his MLS career with more stability and the knowledge that he's going to be playing a lot of minutes when the league resumes play at the MLS is Back Tournament next month in Orlando.

"Very happy," he said after the club's training session on Friday. "I was pleased to be here in the first place and unfortunately I've played just two games for Cincinnati, so I'm happy to play more games and help the team get more accomplishments. I'm just happy to be here.

"I didn't feel like I've proved something and [now] I'll get a chance to prove to the fans and my teammates and myself that I can be worthy of the team and for the league. I chose to go to MLS in the first place to play more games and be more stable and score my goals and be happy again with football. I'm happy I can play more games right now."

Locadia showed the type of impact he can make in the two MLS games he has played, scoring a goal in his league debut in a 3-2 defeat against the New York Red Bulls back on March 1.

But it's not just his goalscoring prowess that has left Cincy convinced that Locadia is their long-term answer as the club's Designated Player forward.

General manager Gerard Nijkamp told reporters on Friday that he felt as though the impact Locadia made in those first two games went beyond the scoresheet, and that he's been pleased with the combination play he's seen between him and his fellow attackers. It's something Nijkamp said he's confident Locadia and his teammates will be able to build on as the club looks to rebound from a 2019 expansion campaign that saw them finish with the worst record in MLS.

"He showed his quality and potential already by scoring a goal and doing very good things for the team," Nijkamp said. "Of course, a lot of people, especially in the game against Atlanta, he was not showing it by goals or assists, but he was very valuable in that game for the team. What he did in ball possession, what he did in transition moments -- and also with a new head coach, we see a lot of potential and he showed already something in execution about goals. But we know and we're convinced that he will be successful with this team and that he is suiting and is a good fit with his teammates. We saw the combination with Siem de Jong, but with the team as a whole, I think Jurgen will be a very good fit and he showed that already in these first two matches before the pandemic. 

"We are very pleased and happy that Jurgen is staying for at least one more year with FC Cincinnati and [will be] successful with the team, and also for himself. "