Montreal Impact's Justin Mapp, Jack McInerney renew chemistry from Philly chapter

MONTREAL – Last Saturday in Washington, something happened for the first time since August 28, 2010: Justin Mapp assisted a Jack McInerney league goal.

Back then, both came on as substitutes for the Philadelphia Union and created the winning goal against the shorthanded New England Revolution. Mapp had moved to Philadelphia a month earlier after a lengthy stay in Chicago. McInerney, who’d just turned 18, only had one start and one goal under his belt in MLS.

Now Mapp is an established, key figure in Montreal. Through 10 games this season, he has four league assists – and his career best is eight. Meanwhile, the 21-year-old McInerney has scored five in seven games in all competitions (two goals in five MLS games) for the Impact.

Count on them not to wait another four years to join forces again.

“We trained and worked together every day back then,” McInerney told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Coming here, it being a new team and me not knowing everyone else as well, [Mapp] was one person that I did know, and I know his tendencies. He’s a player that, for me to be successful, needs to be on the field as well. Both of those put together is leading to what's happening on the field right now.”

Mapp’s assist against D.C. United was actually his third for McInerney that week: two others came the previous Wednesday against FC Edmonton in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal.

For Mapp, it was not much of an adjustment to serve an old teammate. The similarities between McInerney and Marco Di Vaio also enabled Montreal, in Di Vaio’s injury-enforced absence, to only marginally tweak their style.

“It’s just a matter of getting the ball in spots that I like and trying to find them around the box, whether it be getting at the [end] line and cutting it back – I’ve found Marco in the past that way – or just slipping the ball through if they’re making a run along the line,” Mapp told MLSsoccer.com. “They’re very similar in their movements. They like the ball in similar spaces.”

Di Vaio could be back for Montreal's game against the Colorado Rapids this Saturday (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE). The Impact staff is still juggling how best to work Mapp and the two strikers into the lineup.

“Right now, it’s just about making those connections; whether we’re both on the field at the same time or not, it doesn't really matter,” McInerney said. “We both know our tendencies now, what each other likes. Wherever we are on the field, we have to make it work.”