MLS: Marco Pappa Experiment Not Working for Seattle Sounders FC
The marquee game of the weekend for MLS took place at CenturyLink Field on Saturday as the Seattle Sounders FC hosted new-look Toronto FC. It was the first game for Toronto FC after their offseason spending spree which saw them bring in star players like Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe and Gilberto along with solid pieces in Justin Morrow, Bradley Orr, Julio Cesar and Dwayne De Rosario. Toronto saw an instant payoff as Defoe scored both goals to lift the Canadians to a 2-1 win on Saturday.
It is probably too early in the season to judge how it will go for teams or players, but Marco Pappa has been a disappointment for Sigi Schmid and company so far this year. This probably should have been a surprise considering his struggles last season with SC Heerenveen, but Pappa was brought in to play in the Mauro Rosales role from last season. Instead, the majority of crosses have been coming from fullbacks Dylan Remick and DeAndre Yedlin.
Remick is not the normal left back; Leo Gonzalez is nearly ready to return after offseason surgery. This is where Pappa’s crossing will become more crucial since Gonzalez will not push forward as often as Remick has been due to his lack of recovery speed. It was also Pappa’s poor back-pass toward Chad Marshall and Djimi Traore that led to the game-winning goal from Defoe in the 24th minute.
Judgement on Pappa will be put on the back burner for now, but you can be sure that the objections from Seattle fans will be louder if he continues to struggle. The Sounders have a favorable matchup offensively next week as they travel to Quebec to face the Montreal Impact. Montreal allowed three goals to FC Dallas last week and have another tough Texas road test against the Houston Dynamo in Week 2. The match will be the final that suspended players Marco Di Vaio and Andres Romero will miss due to the red cards picked up during their playoff series with Houston last season.
One thing to keep an eye on this week will be the health of captain Brad Evans. He was subbed off in the 29th minute after taking a nasty knock to the calf on an earlier challenge; he attempted to continue, but was not able to. Schmid said after the match that the injury was a “badly bruised calf” and that no timetable had been set for his return. His absence allowed former Mexican international Gonzalo Pineda to make his Sounders debut. Pineda looks solid once he finally got his feet under him with some good combinations with Clint Dempsey and Osvaldo Alonso.