He gave her three.
The Columbus Crew SC midfielder’s first career hat-trick was not only the driving force behind Crew SC’s 3-2 win over the Montreal Impact, but it also gave him membership to the Black & Gold’s 30-goals, 30-assist club just weeks after teammate Ethan Finlay entered its ranks.
Meram netted the game-winner in stoppage time when things looked the bleakest for Columbus — which entered halftime with a 2-0 lead. After Meram scored his first two goals early, the Impact mounted a comeback run with two unanswered goals in the second half. Meram ended it when he and midfielder Niko Hansen executed the give-and-go to perfection, putting Crew SC ahead once and for all.
In the 14th minute, Meram weaved through the Impact's midfield and backline before attempting to make a pass to midfielder Kekuta Manneh when the ball was deflected by defender Kyle Fisher. Meram took the deflection for himself and fired from the top of the box. The ball caught goalkeeper Evan Bush off his line before sliding inside the left post to put Crew SC ahead.
Only 14 minutes later, the midfielder dribbled two Impact defenders — including Bush — and took the ball all the way to the net before booting it home for goal No. 2 in the 28th minute.
Montreal began it's comeback via midfielder Ingacio Piatti, who found a loose ball in the box and sent it past Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen toward the right post in the 52nd minute.
The 77th minute gave Montreal its equalizer. Anthony Jackson-Hamel’s header after a deflected free kick knotted the game.
The late-afternoon match included some physical play: Five yellow cards were shown in the match, three to Crew SC and two to Montreal.
Defensively, Columbus won more duels (57-55) and tackles (19-11) than the Impact, while also recording more saves (4-3) and clearances (31-12).
The Crew SC (6-5-1, 19 points) victory was the second of the season on the road. The win pushed the Black & Gold into second place in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference standings while Montreal (2-5-4, 10 points) remained in 10th place.
Saturday was the 15th all-time meeting between the two clubs. Columbus improved its record against Montreal to 7-5-3 with the victory. Crew SC will meet the Impact again on June 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET back home at MAPFRE Stadium.
14’ – CLB – Justin Meram
28’ – CLB – Justin Meram
52’ – MTL – Ignacio Piatti
77’ – MTL – Anthony Jackson-Hamel
90’+1’ – CLB – Justin Meram (Niko Hansen)
Manneh in the bank
Highly-touted Crew SC acquisition Kekuta Manneh got his long-awaited first start for Crew SC in Montreal. The midfielder played 63 minutes, won three tackles and completed 11 successful passes on the Impact’s half on Saturday.
Jahn the ball
Forward Adam Jahn started his first match of the 2017 MLS season for Crew SC against the Impact. Jahn played 89 minutes in his fifth career start as a member of the Black & Gold.
Injured no more
Midfielder Artur returned to the starting lineup on Saturday and played a full 90 minutes. Artur suffered a broken left wrist against the New York Red Bulls on April 22 and missed three matches. He won five tackles and completed 22 passes on the oppositions half against Montreal.
Crew SC will return to action on Sunday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET against the New England Revolution.
The Black & Gold return home to MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday, May 31 for a match against Seattle Sounders FC at 7:30 p.m. ET.