Marco Pappa makes up for his boo-boo in Fire win
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media August 4, 2012 11:35PM
Debuting midfielder Alvaro Fernandez hits the deck after battling for possession with Terry Dunfield of Toronto FC. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images
Updated: September 6, 2012 6:37AM
If the Fire could pick a player to make a game-changing mistake, it might be midfielder Marco Pappa.
No other player is more confident and equipped to overcome a major error than Pappa, arguably the most talented player on the roster.
So when an errant pass by Pappa gave Toronto FC a 1-0 halftime lead Saturday night at Toyota Park, the team was confident its midfielder would rebound. He did just that, scoring the game-tying goal in the 64th minute of the Fire’s 2-1 triumph.
It was the fifth come-from-behind victory for the Fire (10-7-5, 35 points).
“Marco definitely doesn’t lack confidence, and I thought that he rebounded really well from that,” coach Frank Klopas said. “He scored obviously a great goal, had some good opportunities but really helped the team overall.”
Austin Berry scored the game-winner when he put a head on Pavel Pardo’s free kick in the 84th minute. But Pappa’s patience set the stage for Berry’s heroics.
Pappa’s goal came when Toronto FC attempted to clear a Fire cross that deflected off goalie Milos Kocic. Pappa beat Kocic to the ball and took a touch amid three Toronto defenders that he booted into the net.
Near the goal line, Pappa could have gotten overexcited and shot the ball early. But he remained calm and took a second to deaden the ball before placing between defenders.
“I want to say thank you to the guys because they support me after the mistake and this is about everybody,” Pappa said.
After Toronto FC forward Ryan Johnson capitalized on Pappa’s mistake and scored in the 16th minute, the game got decidedly more physical.
In the 79th minute, Toronto’s Logan Emory was issued a second yellow card that gave the Fire a man-advantage and the opportunity for Berry to score the game-winner.
“I pride myself on being good in the air and I want to be dangerous on every attacking set piece,” Berry said. “I have to take advantage of my opportunities because there’s only so many chances I get to score.”