PhiladelphiaUnion.com contributor Kevin Kinkead reported yesterday that the Union have sent draft picks Richie Marquez and Pedro Ribeiro to USL-PRO side Harrisburg on a temporary loan. They will join fellow Union loanees Jimmy McLaughlin and Cristhian Hernandez when Harrisburg plays their season opener on April 5th against the Wilmington Hammerheads.
Ribeiro was selected with the 15th overall pick in January's Superdraft. He is a 6'4" center-forward who can also play as an attacking midfielder. The 23 year-old Belo Horizonte native scored 31 goals and 26 assists during his four year career at Coastal Carolina University. Marquez played as a centerback for 4 years at the University of the Redlands before being drafted 44th overall in this year's Superdraft. Both players played for Harrisburg in a Saturday friendly against Penn State in which the City Islanders were victorious, 3-1.
Marquez and Ribeiro will be designated for a temporary loan, which means it is expected that the Union will be calling them back during the season. Leo Fernandes and Aaron Wheeler received similar loan assignments at this time last season, and both players received meaningful playing time with the first team later in the season. The Union signed Ribeiro and Marquez to contracts earlier this month even though they missed most of the preseason due to injury. They need to play their way back into form if the Union want them to contribute this season.
The two Homegrown Players, Jimmy McLaughlin and Cristhian Hernandez, were designated for loan assignments last season. McLaughlin scored five goals in 23 appearances with Harrisburg and made his official Union debut in a October 2012 match versus Sporting KC as a second-half substitute. Hernandez notched 4 goals and four assists in 20 appearances. As a Union academy player he scored the lone goal in a 2011 friendly against English Premier League side Everton.
Is it worrisome that these homegrown players (both are 20 years old) haven't found spots in the Union gameday 18 just yet? Throw down your thoughts in the comments section below.