Featured / Season Reviews / Union

Season Review: Justin Mapp

Photo: Earl Gardner

Editor’s note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Justin Mapp heads to Montreal after an inconsistent one-and-a-half year stint in Philadelphia. Acquired half way through the 2010 season from Chicago, Mapp leaves Philadelphia with 4 goals and 8 assists in 44 appearances for the blue and gold. Over 29 appearances in 2011, he netted 3 goals and 4 assists.

A popular starter in Peter Nowak’s midfield, Mapp never did settle on a proper role for himself. Was he a winger, trying to get to the byline to get off crosses? Was he supposed to be cutting inside to look for through balls and shots from distance? Did he have any defensive responsibilities? Whatever it was, it was frustrating for anyone watching the Union midfielder drift in and out of matches for the duration of the season.

One of the biggest knocks you could make on Mapp’s game in 2011 was the way he disappeared for such large chunks of time in matches. He could start a match with the ball at his feet, driving down the sideline, only to spend the next 60 minutes floating around without seemingly getting a touch on the ball.

An honest professional off the pitch, Mapp was a veteran presence in a young Union lock room over the last two seasons, which is a contribution in itself for a young franchise. He’ll leave for Montreal in much the same way he came to Philadelphia, looking to regain some consistent form and relaunch his career in MLS.

High Point

Easy. The performance in Toronto. Two goals in a 6-2 win. Mapp was positive coming forward, taking on defenders, shooting from distance and was rewarded with two great goals. It was the confident outside player that we saw glimpses of over his time with the Union but rarely saw for an entire match. In Toronto, his beautiful early goal was eclipsed only by a brilliant drive from distance to seal the match in the second half.

Low Point

Playing in 29 games as either a starter or a sub, Mapp only had three goals and four assists for the Union this season. He was inconsistent from the start and never really seemed to find a rhythm within the midfield or the squad in general. From July 29 through August 20, a span of five games in which Mapp started, he had no goals or assists and only three shots with none on goal.

Strengths

Decent with his delivery from crosses and on set pieces when he gets to take them. Has a solid shot from distance. Has shown the ability to take defenders on one-on-one down the wing or cutting into the middle. The days when he puts all of those things together as he did in Toronto in May are the days when he looks to be as good as any midfielder in the MLS.

Weaknesses

Do I have to say it? Mapp’s right foot is nonexistent. You’d be hard pressed to find another player in MLS that is so one footed. Mostly used as a wide player under Peter Nowak, Mapp still found himself in the middle of the pitch far too often to keep opposing outside backs honest. Usually deployed on his favored left side, he was often in front of converted rookie left back Gabriel Farfan, where he too often drifted far up-field, leaving the youngster exposed.

Outlook

Left unprotected in the expansion draft, Mapp was taken by Montreal to add a veteran presence to another young franchise. He is not an outspoken locker room guy, but a solid professional who can contribute in the expansion club’s midfield. And with the Union’s signing of Nizar Khalfan and the emergence of Michael Farfan, Mapp’s place on the outside midfield looks to be already filled.

*Stat chart legend:
POS: Position; GP: Games Played; GS: Games Started; MINS: Minutes; PA: Passes Attempted; PC: Passes Completed; P%: Passing Accuracy Percentage; SHTS: Shots Faced; SV: Saves; GA: Goals Allowed; GAA: Goals Allowed Average; PKG/A: Penalty Goals/Attempted; W; Wins; L: Losses; T: Ties; ShO: Shutouts; W%: Win Percentage; SV%: Save Percentage; FC: Fouls Committed; FS: Fouls Suffered; YC: Yellow Cards; RC: Red Cards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

%d bloggers like this: