BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. - Fire midfielder Marco Pappa didn’t start Saturday’s 2-1 loss the Seattle Sounders because the he didn’t return from Guatemala’s international friendly with Paraguay until Thursday night.
Pappa played 72 minutes in Guatemala’s 1-0 loss.
“I think talking to Marco, playing an international match is different than playing at the club level,” Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. “The intensity, the travel part you’ve got to put that into mind. We wanted to keep him fresh and bring it on at a point where you feel that if you needed to, you can push the game and bring something different from the bench, which he did.”
Pappa had an immediate effect in the match after coming on in the 61st minute. In the 63rd minute, he thought he equalized the game with a goal from outside the box, but Dominic Oduro was called offside on the play. He brought the Fire closer in the 89th minute with a goal directly off of a corner kick.
“I respect the coach’s decision,” Pappa said. “I have heavy legs. I have to recover.”
Klopas unhappy with officiating
Klopas wasn’t happy when Rafael Robayo was taken down in the penalty area late in the game, but no call was made.
“When you see it at the speed of the game, I thought there was contact, and then I saw the video and I thought there was contact,” Klopas said. “I talked to Rafa, too, and he said there was contact.”
While conceding the calls usually even out, Klopas said he doesn’t think midfielder Sebastián Grazzini has received a fair shake from referees throughout the season. Grazzini has received three yellow cards this season.
“You look at Grazzini, he’s a No. 10, he’s a playmaker and he has the most yellow cards on our team,” Klopas said. “You figure that one out. He gets kicked the most and he never gets the call because it’s not easy for other teams to get the ball. But it is what it is.”
WATCH: Pappa scores off the corner