Sunday, April 17, 2016

Meram - Another One

Justin Meram has the unique gift of making a game his. Many midfielders drift in and out of entire MLS careers and never put together single game like Meram did last night. And he has done in multiple times before.

Columbus has built a team with players that play consistently good, and better than Justin Meram. Kei Kamara and Gaston Sauro to name a couple, but there is something different about Justin Meram having a standout game.

Is it the that his is more creative than, say... an Emil Larsen? How about a Cedrick Mabwati? Kristinn Steindorsson? Corey Ashe? The list of guys brought in to possibly move him out of the starting eleven is getting long. Is it he has the guts to take on a player when he has the ball? The different ways he is able to score goals? Meram is one of those players that will flat out win you a game. Kamara has that ability, we saw it over and over last year (most notably in the playoff game against Montreal). Federico Higuain might be another, but he's one of those consistently great players. You expect it from him.

Maybe it's Meram's propensity to have a dark game. One where nothing goes right for him. One where we see his shoulders slump after he makes a mistake or one where he tries too hard to get that penalty.

Over the last four years, Justin Meram has been subbed out 48 times in 95 appearances. That 17 more times than the next closest player on the team, This spans two coaching staffs and investment groups. It's odd. In MLS you usually don't get very long, especially if you are a college player, to have this kind of long opportunity.

It's clear that people know that something is there and last night it paid off for Gregg Berhalter and company in a big way. It was a team effort, but Meram won that game.

A month or two from now, Crew SC will have some average-ish record and be working their way around the middle of the table and people will forget this game. Just another "W" in the endless list of facts and figures you hear on the local team broadcast. But fans that have followed this team over the last handful of years, through all the changes, needless PR and hype, will remember this as a Meram Game. One that got the 2016 season back in order.

Maybe one of *those* games for Justin Meram is like the satisfying payoff longtime watchers of a great TV series get. Or that perfect song from one of your imperfect favorite artists. I guess seeing him out there playing like he did on a beautiful Ohio evening in the correct team colors is sort of like that.

Onward Justin Meram.

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