Iraq concluded play in the AFC Asian Cup Friday morning, falling to the United Arab Emirates, 3-2, in the Third-Place Match of the tournament in Newcastle, Australia. Crew SC's Justin Meram came on in the 86th minute for the Lions of Mesopotamia. In total, Meram played 186 minutes for Iraq in the competition.
Upon returning to the States, Meram will be given rest by the Crew SC technical staff before reporting to the Black & Gold's preseason camp.
"He’s at a different level of fitness than the rest of the group right now," Berhalter said of Meram earlier in the week. "He’s been playing competitive games for the last month. I think the important thing now is to get him recovered, give him rest and join the team at a later date.
"We’re going to give him some time off, and we’ll see him when we think it’s appropriate."
Dreams were realized Wednesday evening in Rancagua, Chile as Gahanna native and Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp earned his first cap for the U.S. Men's National Team. Trapp played 31 minutes in the Americans' 3-2 loss to Chile, coming on for NYCFC midfielder Mix Diskerud in the 59th minute. Orlando City SC's Brek Shea and Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore found the net for the USA, but it wasn't enough to overcome Chilean goals from Mark Gonzalez (2) and Roberto Gutierrez.
The U.S. returns to play on February 8 against Panama at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
After two weeks of training in Carson, Calif. and Santiago, Chile, the United States Men's National Team is set to open its 2015 campaign on Wednesday night in a friendly with Chile in Rancagua. For Crew SC's Wil Trapp, Wednesday could be a monumental evening as he works toward earning his first cap for the U.S.
Earning U.S. Soccer's 2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year award, Trapp has seen time previously in the National Team's youth ranks, with the current January camp being the Gahanna native's first Senior Team experience.
Without a doubt, Trapp's coaches and Crew SC teammates are eager to watch Wednesday's match in hope of seeing the midfielder don the Red, White and Blue for the first time on Senior Team level.
"Obviously, we’d like to watch the game," Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said. "We don’t have any formal plans, but I’m sure all of us will be watching, including the team. We’re extremely proud of Wil. He’s put himself in this position by his hard work and his dedication to learning and improving."
The USMNT and Chile kick-off at 6:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
Crew SC's Romain Gall, Ben Swanson, Kei Kamara and Tyson Wahl chat with media from Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Crew SC's Wil Trapp and the New England Revolution's Lee Nguyen talk with MLSsoccer.com about the United States Men's National Team's preparations for Wednesday's friendly versus Chile.
Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter provides preseason updates via teleconference from Lakewood Ranch, Fla.