Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com
MONTREAL – Back in May, the Montreal Impact staff was already recognizing Justin Mapp as one of the team’s elite players. Assistant coach Mauro Biello commented then that one of the club’s objectives in the offseason had been to “get [Mapp] to a physical level that would help him give a lot to the team.”
It seems to have worked, as Mapp has gone the full 90 10 times in 2013 - twice more than in the preceding three seasons combined.
It’s one thing to “give a lot to the team” in the opening months of the season. Doing that over the course of a full season is another matter entirely, and something that's largely eluded Mapp throughout his career.
Not this time, though. And Biello went one step further in his assessment of Mapp’s contribution after Montreal’s 5-0 win over the Houston Dynamo, calling Mapp “probably our most consistent player all year”.
“Every time he gets the ball, something's happening,” Biello told reporters on Saturday. “He’s able to go inside, he’s able to go outside, he puts defenses on their heels. He’s been really effective so far.”
Despite the evidence – his relentlessly threatening runs at Corey Ashe from the right-sided midfield position he has made his own; the 14th-minute screamer against the crossbar; and, of course, the two assists he provided – Mapp responded with reserve.
“I don’t know about that,” Mapp said of Biello’s words. “We’ve had some pretty consistent performers, but I try to challenge myself to have a consistent level. Some games haven’t been that great, but for the most part, it’s been good. Hopefully I’ll continue that in that last stretch.”