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Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Pappa's tally honored; Pause, U.S. net win

By Charlie Corr

The Chicago Fire's finishing was few and far between at times during the 2010 MLS season. But Fire midfielder Marco Pappa was recognized by MLS fans for contributing the most memorable finish as his April 10 strike against the San Jose Earthquakes earned Goal of the Year accolades.

In the 52nd minute, Pappa was set up by Collins John several feet above the box, and Pappa's left-footed strike darted past Quakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon and inside the right post.

"It was a good play, a solid buildup by the team," Pappa said. "[Brian] McBride recovered the ball and fed it to me. I saw [Patrick] Nyarko running into space on the wing and passed him the ball in the air. He dribbled down the flank and found Collins, who made a good reception of the ball."

Pappa's tally was the lone bright spot of an otherwise disappointing home opening 2-1 loss to San Jose in a match that included two key defensive blunders directly leading to both Quakes goals. But for a moment, Pappa's game-tying strike on the north end was welcomed with loud approval.

Former Fire players Damani Ralph (2003) and Cuauhtemoc Blanco (2007) have earned previous Goal of the Year honors.

Pause plays full 90 for U.S.: Fire defensive midfielder Logan Pause saw the pitch for 90 minutes during the U.S. National Team's 1-0 victory over South Africa on Wednesday at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. The Americans earned their second Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, following up their 1-0 win over South Africa on Nov. 17, 2007, in Johannesburg.

All three Illinois natives took the field. Homer Glen native and goalkeeper Brad Guzan wore the captain's armband for the first time and made four saves. Downer Grove's Eric Lichaj started at right defensive back and earned his second cap. And Arlington Heights native Jonathan Spector was a second half sub for Jonathan Bornstein.

"We weren't able to connect a lot of passes, but we did a solid job of holding together defensively," former Fire and current U.S. head coach Bob Bradley said. "I thought Brad Guzan played very well. As the game went on, we found a little bit of ability to connect. It was exciting for us to see some of our young players get an opportunity to play for the national team."

Juan Agudelo made his U.S. debut and tallied the match's lone goal in the 85th minute as he became the youngest player to score for the U.S. in the modern era.

The U.S. posted a 5-5-4 record this year and will open 2011 with a Jan. 22 match against Chile at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.