Breaking News reports Carlos Valdes will return to the Philadelphia Union "next week"

Home Grown Hopefuls: Gonzalez Debuts with Reserves, McLaughlin Continues to Shine

The ultimate goal for any Home Grown Hopeful: appearing in front of the fans at PPL Park. FC DELCO's Jimmy McLaughlin might not be too far away. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

On Monday, the Philadelphia Union Reserve team were handed their first loss of the season at the hands of DC United. They went down 1-0 off a goal from Brandon Barklage.

One of the bright spots from the game was the debut of yet another Home Grown Hopeful: FC Delco and Conestoga High School midfielder Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez came into the game into the 67th minute, replacing Keon Daniel. He earned solid reviews for his ability to link play between the midfielders and forwards. Regular Brotherly Game readers will be familiar with Gonzalez's talents.

Another FC Delco midfielder, Jimmy McLaughlin of Great Valley High School, also appeared in the game, after debuting in the team's season-opening win against New York. He entered the match at the start of the second half, coming on for Jack McInerney. He continued to impress fans and was an exciting player to watch on the wings.

For the second time in as many reserve games, FC Delco goalkeeper Zack Steffen sat on the bench for all 90 minutes as the backup goalkeeper. Steffen is a top-notch talent that was recently called up to the U-17 national team along with Zach Pfeffer.

At this point, it appears to be a no-brainer that out of all of the prospects in the Union youth system, McLaughlin is the closest to earning a Home Grown contract. It remains to be seen if the Union will want to sign another youth player, especially one who plays a very similar position to Pfeffer. After the jump are the latest results from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

On Saturday, FC Delco took on DC United. In the U18 game, McLaughlin and Gonzalez were in the lineup, taking on some of the same DC United academy players that they would face two days later in the reserve game. They were joined by fellow Union Academy player Colin O'Neill but lost the game 3-2 on a late winner from Marcus Salandy-Defour, who scored a hat trick.

The FC Delco U16's avenged their older counterparts later in the day, beating DC 1-0. Connor Ryan and Nick Hutchinson were in the starting lineup.

In other action, the PA Classics U18's got a 1-0 win over Potomac SC while the Classics U16s got a 3-0 win against Potomac's U16s.

Sunday saw PA Classics get their shot at DC United. The U18s got an impressive 3-2 win from a lineup that included the Union's Ryan Bertrando. The Classics U16s also beat DC, winning 2-1. The Union's Christian Kaschak scored the goal that ultimately won the game, and his fellow Union Academy member Jonathan Wenger also participated.

Elsewhere, FC Delco's U18s beat Potomac SC 2-1, with the ever-present McLaughlin scoring a goal. The Delco U16 team got a big win of their own, beating Potomac by a 4-1 scoreline. 

Lastly, Players Development Academy beat the NY Cosmos Academy East by a 3-0 scoreline at the U18 level. The Union's Christian Hernandez, who played in the first reserve game, scored a goal. Later in the day, the PDA U16s lost 1-0 to the Cosmos U16s.

Check out this video from a recent Union U16 training session, courtesy of YSC Sports:

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