HARRISON, NJ - JUNE 13: Marco Pappa #16 of Guatemala celebrates his goal against Grenada during the Concaf Gold Cup at Red Bull Arena on June 13, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
If you've never seen Marco Pappa play, he's a very entertaining player. He's been the best player on Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire since arriving at that club from Municipal in Guatemala, he's only 23 years old, and he's looking dangerous so far in the Gold Cup. Guatemala also have Carlos Ruiz, a striker who I probably don't have to tell you about. While these guys are lacking in top-level international teammates at the moment, meaning they won't get much of a chance to show their talents against El Tri, they're worth keeping an eye on for FMF fans as both might be playing their club football in Mexico very soon.
In the case of Carlos Ruiz, what I said is actually true. It's widely believed that he will leave the Philadelphia Union to return to play with a completely re-built Puebla side. In the case of Pappa...I made that up. It's just wishful thinking and rumor mongering. However, I'm not pulling this totally out of thin air. A move for Pappa to FMF makes a whole lot of sense for him and for almost every team in the league, and it's something that could probably be facilitated with the Chicago Fire.
Pappa, despite his immense talents, is on the s--t list of a lot of Fire fans because of his lack of commitment to tracking back on defense. Why a team with lots of good defensive midfield players and almost no creative presence would ask their most creative player to defend is beyond me, but that's another issue for another day. The point is, Pappa isn't universally loved in Chicago but is, at the same time, too good for a Fire team that has a very fractured squad, a bad record, and a very weird coaching situation.
I'm not a random MLS hater, I watch lots of games and write about the league a great deal, but I am a bit of a Chicago Fire hater these days. The Carlos de los Cobos era was a minor disaster and there's no reason to believe that Frank Klopas knows what he's doing as a coach. The Fire just sold Gaston Puerari, one of their better players to Atlas, so they might be in the midst of a minor house cleaning from the CdlC era.
In FMF, Pappa would be able to shine. He'd play in a league where people actually got penalized for kicking him in the junk and elbowing him in the face, while not being asked to defend for half the game because that's really f--king stupid. I assume that the fanbase of whatever Mexican team he joined would not demand that he play like Park Ji-Sung or Dirk Kuyt.
Even if Pappa won't get to show off his true talents today against Mexico, you should be able to see some of the talent and creative flair that would make him a great fit as a wide player in the Mexican Primera. If he stays with the Fire, it's FMF's loss and their gain, but if some team ponies up a couple million dollars, my guess is that the Fire would let him go. At 23 years old and with his talent, he's absolutely worth the price for just about any team in the league.