MONTREAL – Columbus Crew SC midfielder Justin Meram’s first career hat trick pushed the Black & Gold past the Montreal Impact in a 3-2 victory on Saturday. The scoring display put Meram among Crew SC royalty as a member of the 30-goals, 30-assists club.
Meram also went above and beyond on his mother’s request of him for Mother’s Day. In a video package put together by Crew SC, the mother of many members of the team sent a video message to their sons. Meram’s mother requested a goal for the holiday. He delivered three.
The midfielder scored his first two goals of the match in the first 28 minutes, one from outside the box and another that included volleying over two Montreal defenders before finishing up close. The coupe de grace came in stoppage time when Meram scored his third game winning goal of the season off a give and go assist from midfielder Niko Hansen.
“It was just a last-minute sprint,” Meram said. “I gave it everything I had. Niko Hansen made a great run to stay with me playing the ball. His awareness to play it back was quality with the pace of the layoff and I was able to hit a one touch. Great team goal.”
The game-winning goal came at a time when circumstances were looking bleak for Crew SC. Montreal had scored two unanswered goals prior to Meram’s lethal blow.
“They came storming back into the game,” Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said. “They had an excellent second half and put a lot of pressure on us in the second half. But in the end, we were able to control the score and get that final goal on the counter-attack.”
Meram received high praise from his teammates following the match.
“Hes amazing,” Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen said following the match. “He was awesome. He just took his opportunities and he did well.”
The Iraqi-international’s first career hat trick also made him the first ever Asian International to record an MLS hat trick by FIFA International standards — per ESPN's Paul Carr.
Justin Meram (Iraq) is the first Asian international with an @MLS hat trick.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) May 13, 2017
“It’s obviously an amazing feeling, getting your first (hat-trick),” Meram said.
The three goals notched in Montreal brought Meram’s season total to seven. His career total for Crew SC is now at 31 along with 30 career assists. He joined Jeff Cunningham, Brian McBride, Federico Higuain, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Ethan Finlay in the prestigious 30/30 club.
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.