The more consequential stats-based outcome of this Sunday’s 0-0 tie between the Chicago Fire and the Montreal Impact is the Fire’s elimination from the MLS Cup Playoffs. But another stat made one Montreal player pretty excited.
Well, not quite, because this is a player with a cool head on his shoulders. But on Sunday, it still became official that Justin Mapp has spent a really, really long time on MLS fields donning the D.C. United, Chicago Fire, Philadelphia Union and Montreal Impact colors.
Having passed Preki in the minutes-played department earlier in the game, Mapp logged his 20,000th minute in MLS. And remember this for quiz night: he needed 54 minutes against Chicago to become the… 54th player to achieve this milestone.
“I don't know, I guess I've been doing something right to play that long, that many games,” Mapp told MLSsoccer.com by phone postgame. “I'm thankful for the opportunities to play that long. It’s pretty cool. It’s something I’m sure I’ll think about a little bit more after my career, but I think I have some good years left.”
The 14-season veteran hadn’t played since August 16, at home to Chicago. A groin injury sustained then kept him off the field all the while, almost preventing him from passing the 20,000-minute mark before he turned 30: Mapp is celebrating his birthday in 13 days.
It would be fair to say, though, that Mapp was thinking more about the birthday party than about the 20,000-minutes celebration, if there ever is one.
“I heard about it a little while back, that I was getting close, but I didn’t even know that I was as close as I was until Heath [Pearce] told me after the game that I got there,” Mapp said.
Mapp could have added an assist on this landmark night, as he headed an Andres Romero diagonal back to Jack McInerney in the 38th minute. McInerney found the back of the net with a spectacular overhead kick, but the mother of all marginal offside calls denied him.
“I thought I was [level], but it happened so quick and you have to see yourself from a different angle,” Mapp said. “I heard it was extremely close. The linesman has a tough job to make a quick call. We move on. But obviously, it was a fabulous goal by Jack and it was unfortunate that it was ruled offside.”