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Days before the first preseason friendly in Tucson, the Sounders appear to have filled the last remaining hole in their roster, claiming former Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa with their top allocation spot.
With the offseason departures of Mauro Rosales, Marc Burch and Steve Zakuani, the left side of the midfield was looking more than a little barren, despite 20-year-old Homegrown Player signing Aaron Kovar’s good showing in camp thus far.
In the days leading up to Pappa’s claim, more than a few fans hoped a report from Sweden’s Skanskan meant that former Sounder midfielder Erik Friberg would be heading home. Alas, the taco-loving fan favorite signed with Italy’s Bologna instead.
Pappa, who scored 6 goals in 20 games for the Fire before departing for Eridivisie’s Heerenveen in 2012, seemingly can slot right in at left mid, with flexibility to play anywhere in the midfield. He can also take corners, as coach Sigi Schmid notes in this team interview. Might this mean the end of Clint Dempsey fulfilling that duty? Fingers crossed.
A trade of Pappa seems unlikely this close to the start of the season, after a year in which the team struggled mightily to develop any kind of chemistry due to a roster that saw the oft-delayed addition of Obafemi Martins and the mid-summer acquisition of Clint Dempsey.
Still remaining on the to-do list: Possibly some depth considerations in the midfield, which may still be solved by an emerging trialist, the aforementioned Kovar or a return to form by sophomore-slump-plagued Andy Rose.
Regardless, a huge sigh of relief is in order, as the Sounders look toward their friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes on February 5.
(image courtesy of chicago-fire.com)