After joining Sounders FC in Tucson, Pappa adapting nicely to his new teammates
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The Guatemalan midfielder was brought in through the Allocation Ranking and is adjusting to life with Seattle.
Sounders FC knows quite a bit about the club’s latest addition, midfielder Marco Pappa.
“He’s very silky with the ball at his feet and he’s always looking to combine,” Seattle midfielder Andy Rose said.
If first impressions are any indication, he will fit right in with his new club in Seattle. Pappa played 45 minutes in a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Seattle’s fourth preseason match on Sunday and put his ball control and combination play on display. Although he didn’t figure in Seattle’s scoring, he commanded the defensive attention of his Vancouver counterparts.
As preseason progresses, Pappa will see more time with the top lineup for Seattle, but Sunday’s game was a good introduction for the entire team.
“I’m glad I had some minutes. It’s important to get some confidence and to get a rhythm. It’s so much different to train than in a game, so for me it was good,” Pappa said. “We were patient with the ball, we played smart and most importantly we scored goals. I think that’s good for confidence for the team and for sure, we’re looking forward.”
Pappa was a two-time MLS All-Star in his five seasons with the Chicago Fire from 2008-2012. With Chicago, he had 26 goals and 16 assists in 112 MLS matches. In his two All-Star seasons, he had seven goals and five assists in 25 games in 2010 and six goals and five assists in 22 games in 2012 before his August transfer to Heerenveen in Holland.
With that success on his MLS résumé, he could be a critical piece to Seattle’s midfield.
Sounders FC acquired the Guatemalan National Team standout through the allocation process on January 31 and he joined camp the next day. With over a month remaining in training camp before opening the season on March 8 against Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field, Seattle had no reason to rush Pappa into a preseason game.
“He’s gaining his fitness and we didn’t want to throw him in too early,” Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought he did well. The crosses he hits, he has that ability to hold the ball and find passes. It’s a matter of our group getting used to what the other players can do and taking advantage of their individual skills.”
While the team is learning more and more about what Pappa can do and how he fits on the field, he has already become a part of the Sounders FC family off the field.
While he roomed with Leo Gonzalez and spent much of his downtime with Osvaldo Alonso in Tucson, Pappa proved to be a friendly fit throughout the locker room in his first week with the club.
“My teammates make me feel like I’m part of the group,” Pappa said. “It’s not easy when you come from a different country or a different team. It’s important to feel like home in the group, so I’m pretty happy with that.”