In anticipation of Guatemalan winger Marco Pappa‘s possible return to MLS, several clubs have approached D.C. United about acquiring the top slot in the allocation order, the Insider has learned.
Cut loose by Dutch side Heerenveen this month, Pappa, 26, is weighing multiple options, including MLS, a source said. He played five seasons for the Chicago Fire before being sold in the summer of 2012. Because the Fire was compensated for his departure in the form of a transfer fee, the club no longer holds his MLS rights.
United, the league’s worst team in 2013, sits atop the allocation order. If Pappa signs, United would have to decide whether to claim him and consequently drop to the back of the line ahead of future allocation candidates, stand firm and wait for the next option, or trade the first slot. It’s unclear which other clubs have approached United and what they would be willing to relinquish in a deal.
U.S. national team players and those returning to MLS after being sold are subjected to the allocation order — unless they sign a designated player contract (i.e. Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey). Pappa would not become a DP, the classification for contracts beyond $375,000. In his final season with the Fire, his base salary was $135,000.
United would “consider” trading the top position, one source said, but the club “likes him.”
Pappa is a dynamic left wing and, as the only Chapine in a prominent European league, Guatemalan soccer’s most valuable asset. He scored twice in CONCACAF’s semifinal round of 2014 World Cup qualifiers, including a late equalizer against the United States in Guatemala City. His most recent goal for Guatemala came in a 2012 friendly against Paraguay at RFK Stadium.
At Heerenveen, he made 12 league appearances in 2012-13 but none through 18 matches this season in the Eredivisie.
United is not in desperate need of wide players; Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon are the projected starters. But both are coming off disappointing seasons, and Pontius — a left-sided player — is also a frontline candidate. United’s other primary wide options are Davy Arnaud, Kyle Porter and Lewis Neal.
The opportunity, however, to add Pappa — if he signs with MLS — might be too good to pass up.
Click here to watch a nice goal against Columbus.
United notes: Porter and newly acquired defender Nana Attakora were invited to a 10-day Canadian national team training camp in South Florida, starting Sunday.