The Montreal Impact’s 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire on Saturday did not bring them only unwanted news.
After being sidelined with a hamstring pull for a month, Justin Mapp, a fixture in the starting lineup this season, made a return to competitive action as a 65th-minute substitute against his former club.
Mapp (above, center) came on moments after Chicago’s Alex scored the eventual game-winner, a brilliant strike roofed into Troy Perkins’ net. Not the ideal situation to come back from an injury, to say the least.
“It's tough, especially in a tightly contested, pretty fast-paced game like this,” Mapp told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Saturday night. “Not having full match fitness, it's a tough situation, being down a goal, but I tried to give a little something. Unfortunately, we ended up giving up a third and that was kind of it. It’s a disappointing night.”
Usually fielded on the left flank, Mapp nevertheless fared rather well on the right side of midfield, justifying head coach Jesse Marsch’s confidence in him despite the lack of match fitness on his part.
Mapp notably created a half-chance for striker Marco Di Vaio when, in the 82nd minute, he evaded Alex’s and Álvaro Fernández’s marking with Davy Arnaud’s help. He then delivered a low cross for the Italian, but the shot was well blocked by Dan Gargan, another substitute on the night.
“[Marsch] just asked me to try and be dangerous in any way possible, Mapp said. “I had a couple of good moments, but sometimes, those games, it’s tough to get involved in the flow. He asked me to be dangerous and try to put them on their heels.”