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Chicago’s Pappa wins MLS player of the week

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Oct. 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm with No Comments »
October 3, 2011 12:17 pm

The reigning MLS player of the week will be on display at CenturyLink Field tomorrow, as Chicago’s Marco Pappa was chosen after his hat trick against Real Salt Lake.

The Fire and Sounders will play for the U.S. Open Cup title at 7 p.m. Tuesday at CenturyLink Field.

Pappa got my first vote, with my second going to Seattle’s Fredy Montero. (The award is for league games only, not Champions League.)

Here’s the release from the Fire:

Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa was voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 28. Pappa scored all three goals in Chicago’s impressive 3-0 road victory over Real Salt Lake midweek.

The Guatemalan midfielder led the Fire to within three points of the final MLS Playoff position following its win over RSL on Wednesday, and 1-1 tie with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Pappa opened the scoring against RSL in the 9th minute, by curling a perfectly placed strike from just outside the penalty area, to the right corner of Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s goal. For the second goal, Pappa combined nicely with teammate Pavel Pardo, who made a run through the center of mid-field before slipping a short pass behind the RSL defense. Pappa controlled the pass with one touch, before firing his shot past Rimando to give the Fire a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute. He completed his hat-trick in impressive fashion in the 75th minute, beating two defenders in the right-side of midfield, before darting toward goal, and bending a left-footed shot beyond Rimando and into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Pappa’s three-goal performance was a welcome addition to the Chicago attack, and ended a three-month goal drought for the 23 year-old. His eight goals this season are second-most for the Fire, and the most he has scored in a single season since joining the club in 2008.

The Fire have been on an impressive run lately, posting a 5-1-1 record in their last seven MLS games, to stay alive in a tightly-contested race for the MLS Playoffs. Pappa is the first Chicago Fire player to win Player of the Week this season, capturing ten of 15 first-place votes. Pappa is the first Fire player to capture the award since Cuauhtémoc Blanco tallied a goal and an assist in a 2-0 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes at TOYOTA PARK July 18, 2009.

The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information can be found at www.soccerreporters.com.

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