Justin Mapp (left) celebrates a goal with Marco Pappa in one of his final matches with the Fire
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Marco Pappa says Mapp trade no surprise

HOUSTON -- MLS All-Star midfielder Marco Pappa had just seen the news cross his computer. Chicago Fire teammate Justin Mapp was a teammate no more. He was traded on Monday to the Philadelphia Union.

“These moves are a little sad, but in soccer it’s like this,” Pappa said. “You have to accept things that are not in your control and only wish him the best, that he’ll do well in Philadelphia and that he knows how to handle what just happened.”

The Guatemalan says that there was an air of impending change in the squad after a start to the MLS campaign that has seen the Fire sputter to an inconsistent 4-5-5 record.

“You could have imagined it,” Pappa said. “We didn’t know if it was one or two changes, but we knew there would be changes. If it’s not going well there will always be changes, and as a player you have to accept them.”

The Mapp trade could be the first move made to incorporate the arrival of new Designated Player signing Nery Castillo, the $27.5 million man on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk. Castillo's addition has injected hope in a team that is only six points removed from the eighth and final postseason spot.

Pappa says that he’s ready to return to the manning the left flank - Mapp’s position with the Fire when healthy - if manager Carlos de los Cobos makes the request.

“Of course, I’ve played on the left for a long time and on the right side as well,” Pappa said. “I think there’s a reason behind moving Justin, but hopefully it’s for the benefit of the team.”