Following a strong return to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, Columbus Crew SC defender Lalas Abubakar and midfielder Justin Meram earned MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week honors. Crew SC produced a dominant 3-1 victory over the second-place Chicago Fire on Saturday night thanks to Meram's game-winner and a second-half defensive effort that left the Fire toothless.
Abubakar, making just his fourth start and appearance for the Black & Gold, stood strong in Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter's 3-man backline with Jonathan Mensah and Josh Williams. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and Kumasi, Ghana, native finished with four tackles, three clearances, 11 passes in the defensive half and just one foul committed while facing the league's second-highest scoring team.
This was Abubakar's first Team of the Week recognition by MLSsoccer.com.
Bench: Tim Howard (COL)-Kelvin Leerdam (SEA)-Matt Hedges (DAL)-Alexander Ring (NYC)-Ignacio Piatti (MTL)-Justin Meram (CLB)-Vicente Sanchez (HOU)
Coach: Greg Vanney
Meram scored the Club's 1,000th goal in Major League Soccer regular-season action in the 73rd minute. Columbus’s homegrown captain, Wil Trapp, fed a ball into the left channel for Waylon Francis, who's driven cross found the flicking foot of Justin Meram, who first-timed the ball into the back of the net. The goal stands as Meram's fifth game-winner of the season and 10th goal in 2017.
Meram finished the match with 31 passes in the attacking half, 10 in the final third and tracked back to make three tackles.
Columbus Crew SC will travel south next to face Orlando City SC on Saturday, August 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Black & Gold will return home on Wednesday, August 23 to kick off a three-game home stand when they face the LA Galaxy in what will be a 7:30 p.m. ET start at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.