‘He doesn't know how to pass to the Italians!'
‘He's only a 60 minute player!'
‘I don't know how much longer he can be a starter for the Impact'
‘The Impact shouldn't re-sign him'
Dear Justin Mapp,
I am responsible for those quotes being uttered. Many times. Ok, a ridiculous amount of times. With the way you have been playing recently, I only have one thing to say:
You have made me eat my words. Truthfully, I am happy that you have. I have been one of your harshest critics. In recent times, I have even been bipolar in my opinion of you. I have gone from loathing the day the front office re-signed you to wanting to create ‘The Mappquesters' to go along with the Jebi Knights and back.
In fact, the entire Montreal Impact fan base owes you an apology.
Since you have joined the Montreal Impact, there is not one player who has received even half of the amount of criticism as you have whether it be from me or from most of the fan base. I guess, on one hand, it is normal. You play in a city that is very short tempered when it comes to their sports teams and their glory. It is a win now atmosphere. Sadly, even though last season was an expansion season, the expectations were high.
Let's be honest. Last season, your game was very inconsistent. It could have been one of many potential excuses that you had at your disposal. Playing in a new city. The new system. Playing with Bernardo Corradi and then Marco Di Vaio. There was also your injury. In fact, I found that you weren't the same player since you got hurt. Did the injury nag you until the rest of the year? Perhaps into of the offseason and the start of this season? I guess we'll never truly know.
When you joined the team, I did some research and talked to many people within the Union fan base. Most were happy to see you go. In fact, some still joke about you today. I don't know how much you have paid attention to any of the comments but you have been a punching bag for negative comments.
THAT HAS ALL COME TO AN END.
The play that we have seen from you this season, especially in the last 6-7 games, has been wonderful. Granted, there have been some ups and downs but, for the most part, you look like a new and improved player. We see the former All Star player. We see the former MLS Best XI player.
Your ball control has been fantastic. Your runs are well timed. You are getting into open space. You take on defenders. The decision making is on point. The opposing defence needs to be aware of where you are on the field at all times. But, with all that, the most important thing of all is that you finally seem to have found chemistry with Marco Di Vaio. That must feel great!
I remember, last season, Corradi and Di Vaio looking in your direction with anger and frustration. This season, you have made Marco a very happy man. In a recent game, you set up the Italian striker with a perfect lob to his feet that he blasted behind the keeper and all I can remember is him turning around, looking for you to thank you with the biggest smile possible.
You have been a great part of this team's success so far this season. In recent games, you have been just as important as Di Vaio, Bernier or Perkins. You deserved to win the MVP of the Amway Championship.
It has taken time but it looks like the real Justin Mapp has finally stood up. I don't know what has happened or what you have done to make it all work but keep it up!!
If the Union fans have been watching any of the Impact games lately, I am pretty sure that they miss you now and wish that you were still on the team.
I raise my glass to you, Justin Mapp version 2.0 and wish you continued success throughout this season and beyond (in a Montreal Impact jersey, of course!)
On behalf of the entire Montreal Impact fan base, I say... Oops, my bad!
Mappquesters member #001
PS: Apology accepted? No hard feelings?