As the clock kept ticking late in the second half of Sunday’s match against the New York Red Bulls, it seemed as if it just wasn’t going to be Sounders FC’s day.
Obafemi Martins wasn’t able to maintain control with the ball at his feet wide-open inside the box in the 33rd minute. Clint Dempsey missed the target on each of his first four attempts on goal. The Red Bulls scored on a deflected shot in which Lloyd Sam was simply in the right place at the right time.
Enter Marco Pappa, who put Seattle on the scoreboard for the second straight match with an outstanding individual effort. Pappa’s goal tied the match, and then Chad Barrett scored in stoppage time to keep Sounders FC atop the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings with a 2-1 win.
Pappa hadn’t scored this season until Wednesday’s victory over Colorado. Here’s what he and Head Coach Sigi Schmid said in their post-match interviews about the midfielder’s current form.
“My confidence is growing, for sure. My finishing is getting better and better, but the most important thing is the team. We got a great three points at home, and I’m glad everyone is happy with this game. Now we have to continue to work hard.”
“It’s always important to score goals. I’m glad Oba saw me wide open, and I had a chance to go one-v-one. …I’m happy that I’m healthy and we’re at the top of the table.”
“He is a player who is very talented. Sometimes I want him to be higher up on the field to expose his talents by getting in. He is doing that better. He is getting more touches in the opponent’s end of the field, and that’s what we look for. Now he’s got a couple of goals, and he already has a career high in assists. We need him to continue to play that way.”