Columbus Crew SC sits atop the Eastern Conference table, is unbeaten at MAPFRE Stadium in 2017 and has outscored opponents 11-8 through Week 7 of the Major League Soccer regular season. Riding high off its fourth win of the year — a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the defending Eastern Conference champion Toronto FC — MLSsoccer.com announced midfielder Justin Meram and defender Nicolai Naess to its Team of the Week.
Week 7 stands as the fourth week that a Crew SC representative has earned a Team of the Week recognition, and 11th player or coach to be named to the Team of the Week or Bench.
Meram's full 90 minutes of action and 44th minute game-winning goal earned him his second Team of the Week selection, along with Week 7's Acura Man of the Match honors. The 28-year-old midfielder collected exactly 50 percent of the fan vote after cleaning up a 44th minute corner kick. His deft side-footed flick propelled the Black & Gold to their fourth win of the season and maintained the Club's unbeaten run at MAPFRE Stadium to four matches. Meram has scored all four of his goals and assists at home. Just seven minutes after Ola Kamara equalized, Crew SC's growing pressure on the visiting Reds finally broke them. Federico Higuain took the corner kick just a minute before the halftime whistle, and Homegrown defender Alex Crognale nodded the delivery down into the 6-yard box. Meram nestled the ball neatly into the back of the net, cementing the eventual victory.
It's Naess' first Team of the Week honor in 2017. The 24-year-old Norwegian central defender made four clearances, three interceptions, two tackles and completed 34 successful passes while corralling Toronto's potent 1-2 punch of U.S. international Jozy Altidore and 2015 MLS Golden Boot, MLS Newcomer of the Year and MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco to hold the visitors scoreless after their lone 21st minute goal.
Columbus Crew SC next visits the New York Red Bulls on April 22 for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. The Black & Gold return to MAPFRE Stadium on April 29 for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff against Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and New York City FC.