Columbus Crew SC's, 2-0, victory over Orlando City SC at MAPFRE Stadium on April 1 propelled the Black & Gold to the top of the Eastern Conference table with 10 points through five matches. Black & Gold midfielder Justin Meram scored both goals — one in each half — in the team's third consecutive victory in the young 2017 Major League Soccer regular season.
"I just think staying humble, loving my teammates who play for this club, I think that’s kind of my mindset: doing what I can to help succeed and I know I have qualities on the ball, so I’m just going to play my role," Meram said after the win. "When I do that and stick to the game plan, I’m pretty successful."
With his brace and the team's second clean sheet in three games, Meram earned a dominating 80 percent of the supporters vote — winning the Acura Man of the Match honors for Week 5.
The Iraqi international's brace brought his career total to 27 regular-season goals for Crew SC. After scoring in Week 4's, 3-2, victory over the Portland Timbers, Meram now tied with Ola Kamara atop the team's scoring list with three apiece. Saturday was just Meram’s second brace in the regular season, with his first coming in Crew SC's 3-0 win over Chivas USA on September 7, 2014.
Saturday was Meram's 159th regular-season appearance (107 starts); he is the longest-tenured player in the current Black & Gold roster and ranks 11th on the all-time regular-season goal-scoring list for Crew SC.
Meram was joined by Homegrown Player, midfielder and Crew SC captain Wil Trapp (10 percent), goalkeeper Zack Steffen (5 percent) and midfielder Federico Higuain (5 percent) as nominees for Week 5's Acura Man of the Match.
Crew SC next visits the Chicago Fire on April 8 in Bridgeview for a 2 p.m. showdown. The two teams have met once already this season, resulting in a 1-1 draw at MAPFRE Stadium in the season opener on March 4. The game can be viewed on Spectrum Sports, ABC-6, and BCSN2 in Ohio or nationally via MLS Live.
The Black & Gold then return home for the first leg of the Trillium Cup against Toronto FC on April 15 for an 8 p.m. kickoff at MAPFRE Stadium.