Richie Marquez's 2017 saw him as a part of the crowded centerback group, which ultimately resulted in a mixed role for himself, one where he spent multiple games as a starter and as a substitute.
Marquez began the season as one of the team's starting centerback, paired up with Oguchi Onyewu. He helped lead the Union to a clean sheet in the opening match. He started the Union's next two matches, playing 90 minutes in both.
Against DC United, Marquez once again started, but was replaced at halftime by Jack Elliott after suffering an injury in the first half. He returned to the starting XI against Portland, where he scored his first and only goal of the 2017 season.
Marquez started his sixth consecutive match of 2017 against New York City, when he lined up with Elliott for the Union's third centerback pairing of the season. He and Elliott started the next two matches for the Union. However, an illness knocked Marquez out of the lineup against New York Red Bulls, ending his 40-game start streak, which dated back to the beginning of the 2016 season.
Even though he was back in the gameday 18 after missing just one game, Marquez didn't find the pitch again until he subbed in for Onyewu in the Union's match against NYCFC, ended a streak of five games without an appearance.
Marquez wouldn't find MLS action again until he subbed into the Union's August 26 match against Atlanta United FC. However, during that stretch, Marquez started four matches for Bethlehem Steel FC, where he scored a goal against Louisville City FC.
Marquez failed to appear in the Union's match against Minnesota United FC, but started five of the Union's final six matches of the season. Marquez earned his third and fourth clean sheets of the season during that stretch, while also making quality slide tackles in the box to put out fires.
During the 2017 season, Marquez made 15 appearances for the Union, 13 being starts. He registered his third career goal, and played more than 1,200 minutes. Including his four starts at Bethlehem Steel FC, Marquez notched two goals in more than 1,500 minutes of soccer.
For Marquez, his goal will be to maintain his quality of play which he showed to start and close out the 2017 season. He played shutdown defense with some flashes of offensive capabilities. An unfortunate illness plus stellar play of Onyewu and Elliott made him the odd man out, but his play and work ethic got him back into the starting lineup. Keeping that work ethic and effort could make him a starter along with Elliott in 2018.