When you net the only two goals in the Most Important Game in MLS Regular Season History™, you are the Player of the Week -- it's pretty much that simple.
Marco Pappa took the top spot in the poll of North American Soccer Reporters to be the final Player of the Week of the season after slotting home the game winner Saturday in the Sounders' emphatic Supporters'-Shield-clinching victory.
In true Pappa style, the midfielder polished that off deep in extra time with a hustle play to strip the ball from Jaime Penedo and a little chip shot that could be in the dictionary under "cheeky."
These were two massive goals for for the Sounders, and have certainly cemented Pappa a permanent place in Sounders lore. But even if we ignore those tallies (Lets not though. OK just for one second), the Guatemalan would have a pretty good argument for Player of the Week.
In the last two matches against LA Galaxy, Pappa has come off the bench and ignited the Sounders offense. Replacing the box-to-box security of Brad Evans with the fresh legs and creativity of Pappa drew defenders out of position and kept them guessing at StubHub Center. This allowed Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins more space to operate and created the gap for Lamar Neagle to exploit in his vital tying goal.
Marco repeated his performance this week, but to even greater effect, claiming the goals and the glory for himself. But again it was his presence on the left wing after the 73rd minute that altered way the forwards were able to find time and space on the ball.
Tactical adjustments and Neagle's move to the right side were other factors in the late offensive push, but those don't take away from Pappa's brilliant catalytic effect to finish the last two games.
After the first match, Brad Evans jokingly said: "The mindset was: Take Brad off the field and score two goals in two minutes." Although he was likely expressing a bit of disappointment in himself, a more accurate way to describe the strategy might be "put Pappa in against a tired defense and wait for the goals to roll in."