This much we know: Marco Pappa says he's returning to MLS. We know this with a relatively high degree of certainty because he was widely reported as telling Guatemalan reporters this fact, as well as proclaiming it on Twitter.
Hago oficial mi regreso ala MLS lo cual me tiene más que feliz , gracias a muchos por sus buenas vibras , ya con muchas ansias de empezar ..— Marco Pappa (@marcopappas16) January 21, 2014
From the best I can tell with my pretty basic understanding of Spanish is that Pappa's preference is to go back to the Chicago Fire, the team he played for from 2008-12, but that nothing is finalized.
Of course, Pappa can want to play for the Fire all he wants, but that doesn't mean he will. Like virtually all returning MLS players who were transferred out of the league, Pappa is subject to the Allocation Ranking. The Fire are currently eighth on that list, meaning seven other teams would have the opportunity to select Pappa before they did. They can obviously swing a trade to either acquire Pappa's rights or move into a position to select him, but they are going to have give up something at some point.
The Sounders are, of course, on of those teams sitting above the Fire. In fact, the Sounders sit all the way up at No. 2. And this is where it gets a bit tricky...
Sitting No. 1 is the Philadelphia Union, who acquired that top spot in a trade with D.C. United. It has been widely reported that they intend to sign Maurice Edu. But that deal, as you've probably heard, is currently stuck in limbo. I've asked around a bit and this does seem to be a significant factor in Pappa's situation. If Edu's deal isn't approved, the Union seem to want to pick Pappa, even if it's just to trade him. This would obviously cut the Sounders out.
All indications are that if the Sounders are given the opportunity, they'll select Pappa. They could potentially flip him for another asset, but they'd probably use their spot in the Allocation Ranking either way.
One way or another, this will likely come to a conclusion sooner than later. Pappa is apparently signed and training camps are scheduled to begin this week. There's only so long that it can be strung out ... right?