Player of the Week

Player of the week: Richie Marquez

Photo: Earl Gardner

Ninety dire minutes, and a nil-nil draw on the table.

Then, a moment of brilliance. A striker’s finish from the foot of a center back vaulting the Union into first place in the Eastern Conference. Richie Marquez, stripping his shirt off and screaming in celebration, a moment of pure joy inside Talen Energy Stadium.

Marquez’s spectacular goal — his first in Major League Soccer — earned the Union three points, and also earned Marquez Player of the Week honors from PSP.

All season, Marquez has been an outstanding performer in the center of the Union’s defense. Shaking off a hamstring injury suffered near the end of training camp, Marquez’s return to the starting lineup against Columbus reset a defense that looked as sturdy as a sand castle in the season opener against FC Dallas. No matter whether paired with Ken Tribbett or Josh Yaro, with Fabinho or Ray Gaddis to his left, the second-year MLS pro has been a pillar of calm and stability all season for a defense that has allowed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference.

In two years, Marquez has gone from an afterthought to a player who would start at center back for every team in the league. Last week, we all learned what a bargain Marquez is for the Union, with his $63,000 salary described as “borderline offensive” for a player of his quality. Marquez outperforms his salary and pedigree every time he steps on the pitch, enabling the Union to build a deeper roster — and, of course, helping them win games.

All season, Marquez has been the rock at the center of the Philadelphia defense. Capping a strong start to the year with a sterling moment of glory, on Friday night the former D-III product earned his moment in the spotlight — and our Player of the Week award.


  1. pragmatist says:

    Marquez is yet another bittersweet player on our roster. I say that because we are currently blessed with a young and very talented roster. A lot of these young guys are already exceeding expectations, and are quickly growing into very known quantities.
    I can’t help but think that Europe might come calling for a few of them. Mainly Blake and Marquez, but there is the potential for Yaro or Rosenberry to be tempted.
    My hope is that either I am off-base, or that these guys love MLS and Philly and want to stay. There is a very bright future on this roster, and Richie is absolutely leading the way.

    • I’ve said from the beginning, if the Sporting Director has a Vision and Philosophy and Plan in line with developing youth players… I am all for Union and MLS being a feeder to bigger and better things abroad…which is what this league is… as much as it may steam some. It truly is the highest compliment that can be paid to your franchise… 3 or 4 or 6 players working way up through the levels of an open pyramid…. This too I am sure will be argued by many.
      So while I understand the point you make… go forth Keegan and Josh and Andre… go forth if you are summonsed as this is the only way you will ever realize your full potential if realizing your full potential is why you decided to become a professional. Oh and maybe also the only way you ever actually get a decent paycheck before you are 32 years old.
      My guess is, the Sporting Director in a year or two will already have a plan for your departure… next up.

      • pragmatist says:

        Don’t misunderstand me, I would love to see our guys plying their trade at White Hart Lane, Camp Nou, or Allianz Arena. And I will be glad for the service they provide us in the meantime.
        But I will take some time after their moves to bigger and better things to contemplate the “what-ifs.”

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Agreed… I understand the position completely.

      • philpill says:

        Big Ern made his name buying low, selling high but always improving his club’s standing. Isn’t that why he’s here? The supporters’ upside is that replacement talent will naturally migrate here: the next Rosenberry. Win-win-win.

      • el Pachyderm says:


      • James Lockerbie says:

        I understand how the system works and how Earnie has studied the system and maybe he has mastered it. Having said that, for all the Fans crying lying on their bellies kicking and screaming when players like Macmath, Cruz,Jack Mac….move on. I can’t wait to see how nuts, and I mean nuts they will become when Blake or anyone else on this team move onto other leagues.

    • I would hate to see Richie leave for Europe and I will tell you why. I know a lot of people will say our players need to go to Europe to realize their full potential, and that our national team’s success depends on it. Yet, look at the 2002 WC team. Yeah there were some European players in that group that helped, but our best players, the ones who arguably had the most impact were MLS players. Guys like Donovan, Beasley, McBride, Mathis, Wolff, Pope, these guys all solidified the team and provided a spark not seen from most of the European based players. They played as a team and not as a bunch of individuals. MLS and the country needs it’s soccer heroes. Desperately we need guys who are truly American who can demonstrate they can hang with the best. How do we get more players of that caliber? We keep the ones who are already there to help more young players come along and learn the ropes. Instead of being a farm league we need a long range plan to develop talent that will rival any in the world. We don’t need to be Europe to beat Europe. I know I am greatly in the minority in this thinking but I have a vision of us being a premier league one day, and you don’t get there by sending your best talent away.

      • pragmatist says:

        If you could have a roster budget of $100M/team, this wouldn’t be a problem. But this is all about economics. Until MLS is on level footing with the rest of the world for all of its players, not just the elite, you will continue to see a migration of younger talent to the bigger leagues.
        Yeah, it would be great if they were all domestically based, and if they improved as a result. But as of now, they won’t get paid anywhere near what they can overseas, and they won’t see the same level of competition domestically, either.
        We all agree with you…in theory. But we’re a decade or more away from that.

      • SoCalGuy says:

        And for the most part I agree with you. I would say we are much closer to this than we were ten years ago, and a world closer to this than we were twenty years ago. Big reasons for this are bringing in guys like Donovan, who attracted other stars. The key to making this happen is to change the thinking of the fan base. The revenue is here, but many fans are elitist and choose to say they watch European football and will never watch MLS soccer because it makes them feel good about themselves. That is money the league is losing on TV, advertising, and team products. The same fans do not realize we are making MLS a second or third tier league because of some people’s refusal to back the domestic league. Sure players will leave for money, but if we as fans support our teams we will allow our teams to afford to pay the players.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        It’s the fans fault for making the league second or third tier because of viewership? No way.
        The market is there… the league is cutting itself off from that market.
        Your blaming the fans… There 40 50 million fans not tuning in for a reason… and it most assuredly is not their fault.

      • SoCalGuy says:

        I’m intrigued. how do you think the league is cutting itself off from the market? I contend there are many soccer fans in this nation who never watch MLS, buy MLS gear, or attend games simply because they feel it is beneath them. Therefore these “fans” are not financially supporting the league and it is a self fulfilling prophesy. We have hundreds of thousands of those here in LA. People who only showed up for a while after Beckham or Gerrard came out, and then disappeared again. They feel self righteous because they wear a jersey of winning European team, a team they have only seen on T.V. and have no real personal attachment too.

  2. The guys who stay and have long, excellent careers are the ones who are not quite good enough for Europe, or borderline for Europe, or just want to stay home and play in the US. I think Blake is so damn good that we will not be able to keep him for more than another year or two. Marquez, on the other hand, is not quite European caliber, IMHO. But he’s been a fantastic player for US. Give him a raise, and he’s just the type who could spend the next 7 years here.

    • pragmatist says:

      I would agree, except for the interest in Birnbaum. Let’s see how that plays out, and then we’ll get a better read on his potential future.

    • If Chelsea was willing to buy Matt Miazga and there is truly European interest in Steve Birnbaum, I won’t be surprised to Marquez’s name come up in rumors before too long, especially while he can still be had for cheap. Besides, if Marquez wants to finally get noticed by Klinsy, a move to Europe would be his best hope.

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