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Eric Bird loaned to Harrisburg for U.S. Open Cup match

Rookie midfielder is in line to make his professional debut with Harrisburg City Islanders tonight.


Rookie midfielder Eric Bird has been loaned to Harrisburg City Islanders for their third round U.S. Open Cup match tonight against Rochester Rhinos.

Bird, the No. 41 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, has yet to appear for the Union or the City Islanders this season due to injuries.

Prior to signing with the Union, the 22-year-old Virginia Beach native was a teammate of Union Academy alumnus Darius Madison at Virginia, where he captained the Cavaliers to the College Cup in 2014 and 2015 and the program's seventh national championship in December.

Harrisburg hosts Rochester at 7:30 p.m. for a spot in the fourth round of the 102nd Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest soccer competition in the U.S. The winner will travel to PPL Park to face the Union on Tuesday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m.

Injuries have kept loans to the Union's USL affiliate to a minimum of late. There weren't any Union players in the 18 for the City Islanders second round Open Cup win over Reading United last week or their 2-0 win over Charlotte Independence in league play May 16.

Jimmy McLaughlin leads Union players with Harrisburg appearances this season with four games and three starts. Dzenan Catic has played in four games and started twice. Zach Pfeffer has appeared in two games (though he's listed as playing defense on April 18 instead of Richie Marquez) and Antoine Hoppenot and Richie Marquez have each suited up once. Raymond Lee was in the 18 for the May 9 game against New York Red Bulls II but did not play.