Marco Pappa #16 of the Chicago Fire moves the ball around a fallen Ned Grabavoy #20 of Real Salt Lake in an MLS match.
Well with a deal believed to be legit over in the states I thought it was a good idea to look at what we look to be signing in the shape of the 24 year old Guatemalan international (Marco Pappa). First of all he is a midfielder which is one of the positions we do need to fill, and signing a player on a free is always nice. Standing at 5 foot 11 he isn't going to be any push over in the centre of the midfield and described as a attacking midfielder is always nice.
Saying that he has scored 22 senior goals in 106 appearances for club and country which isn't a bad return at any level for a midfielder. Okay so that is really all I personally know, after reading wikipedia and a few articles from games you get an image of a player but not the whole man himself.
So that is why I called in some back up from the guys over at Hot Time In Old Town, SB Nations Chicago Fire Blog. Thankfully Ryan Sealock was more than happy to answer a few questions and fill us in on what kind of a player we could be signing.
What kind of player is Marco? Can he get forward and work attacking options or does he more like to sit in the midfield and work the passes?
Marco is definitely an offensive player. I would not classify his passing as a strength as he is definitely in the mold of an attacking winger. Despite being out on the wing, Marco tends to drift inside towards the middle of the field. While this can be frustrating at times because he gets out of position, it also helps create attacks and opportunities. Marco is predominantly left footed and likes having the ball at his feet. He does have good ball skills but sometimes he is known for trying to do too much and dribbling through 2 or more defenders and losing the ball. I think this is one area of his game that he should work on, especially when facing defenders on the level of the Premier League.
The other issue that I would highlight is his defensive work rate. He kind of had a reputation for not getting back and playing defense very much at all. However, it seems he has worked on this in the offseason, and I have noticed a definite improvement in this category this season. He is tracking back more and while I wouldn't call him a stellar defender by any means, he is trying to help out defensively.
The other area I would like to point out is that he is pretty good with set pieces. We have a couple of players that can take them, but I would say he is our most dangerous player for free kicks and corner kicks. He has scored his share of goals this way. When he wants to, he can hit rocket shots and he gets good amounts of swerve on the ball when he hits it true. He is a player that can score goals on the Fire that no one else can. He actually won goal of the year for all of MLS in 2010:
How much room does Marco have to improve?
I think Marco has lots of room to improve. He has shown he is willing to work on his game with the aformentioned improvement in his defensive work rate. He is also a little bit better about not trying to dribble through an entire defense, but he can still improve on that. He is still fairly young at 24 and is hungry to prove himself at a higher level in Europe. His first touch can sometimes be shaky, but I think that is something that he can work on as well. While jumping from MLS to the Premier League is a very big step, I honestly think that he can develop into a good squad player for Wigan.
Is he a consistent hard worker, or does his head drop if he doesn’t get the results?
Marco seems to be a hard worker from all that I have gathered. He is a good teammate and good in the locker room (I haven't heard any reports of him causing any team issues in his time with the Fire). At times last year he tended to go in spurts, meaning he might disappear from a game for long periods or have a few good games followed by a few down games. He has been much more consistent for the Fire this year, and has put in good performances in almost every game. He has definitely been one of our more valuable players so far this year (we are at the half way point in MLS right now).
Final what is your fondest memory of Marco playing for Chicago Fire?
He has had a lot of good memories in my mind in his time with the Fire. The above goal of the year was very memorable. He also had quite a strike against the Columbus Crew a couple of weeks ago:
My other fond memory was the hat trick he had against Real Salt Lake last season: