The 27-year-old midfielder was stopped on Interstate 5 near downtown Seattle, the Washington State Patrol confirmed Tuesday.
The Sounders’ past month has featured one setback after another, the soccer equivalent of a Monday morning when you lock yourself out of your apartment, walk outside to a dead car battery and arrive at work to find a backlog of emails.
Seattle has lost five matches out of its past six, each more disheartening than the previous one.
On Monday evening, a team statement provided yet another answer to the question, “What else can possibly go wrong?” Sounders midfielder Marco Pappa had been arrested early Sunday morning for driving under the influence and speeding. He was stopped on Interstate 5 near downtown Seattle, the Washington State Patrol confirmed Tuesday.
Sounders @ Montreal,
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The team addressed the news Tuesday morning, though Pappa wasn’t out with the rest of his teammates on the Starfire Sports Complex practice fields. General manager and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey wouldn’t confirm whether Pappa’s absence was team- or league-mandated.
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Pappa is ineligible to play until he is evaluated by MLS’s substance-abuse doctors, the league completes its investigation and he is cleared. The procedure is almost certain to last through Saturday’s Sounders-Impact match in Montreal. Philadelphia forward C.J. Sapong missed three games after being arrested in similar circumstances earlier this year.
“We issued our statement (Monday), and that’s all we’re going to be able to say about it,” Lagerwey said. “It’s a legal matter, and we’ve got to let that process play out.”
Pappa played the final 26 minutes of Seattle’s 1-0 loss to Colorado on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field, having just returned to the team following Guatemala’s early exit from the 2015 Gold Cup.
The 27-year-old midfielder has no previous moving violations in Washington.
“He’s a teammate, and we need to support him,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said Tuesday. “I think all of us, individually, have either known somebody or somebody that we were related to that went through something like this, or another difficult situation like this.
“Right now he needs our support to come through this at the other end as a stronger person.”
U.S. readies for Gold Cup semis
The U.S. men’s national team and its Sounders representatives, Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans, will take on Jamaica in the Gold Cup semis Wednesday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The game is Part 1 of a semifinal doubleheader, with Mexico and Panama facing off in the nightcap for the other berth in Sunday’s final.
Despite having been stripped of the captain’s armband before the tournament, Dempsey has been the standout player for the U.S., leading the field with six goals and netting his first international hat trick Saturday against Cuba.
What this means for his status for next week’s MLS All-Star Game and next weekend’s Cascadia Cup showdown vs. Vancouver at CenturyLink is unclear.
“Obviously, Dempsey is logging a lot of minutes,” Schmid said. “Against Cuba, they had a fairly easy game with Cuba, and he’s still out there in the 90th minute. (U.S. coach) Jurgen (Klinsmann) is not giving him a lot of rest. Hopefully, it’s a situation where, since he ended up not playing for us at the end before he left for the national team, he’ll be able to sustain it and go with it.”
Frei, Martins practice
Both goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who injured his shoulder in a win against D.C. United, and forward Obafemi Martins, who has been out for more than a month because of a groin injury, participated in team drills Tuesday.
Schmid estimated that Frei went through 75 percent of his normal practice routine and Martins did 60 percent of his, though it does sound as if the Nigerian striker will miss Saturday’s match in Montreal.