TRAINING NOTEBOOK: Crew SC reflects in midst of 8-day rest period

OBETZ, Ohio – Columbus Crew SC gathered once again at the EAS Training Center at Obetz on Tuesday to prepare for Sunday’s match in New England against the Revolution after a narrow victory in Montreal last weekend.

The Black & Gold will see their longest period of rest thus far in the 2017 Major League Soccer regular season with a period of eight days. Columbus had some time to reflect on last week’s match after a warm day of training in Obetz.

Meram reflects on hat trick

Midfielder Justin Meram was in high demand at the EAS Training Center at Obetz on Tuesday after his hat trick in Saturday’s victory over Montreal that included the game-winning goal. Meram took a few moments to reflect on the trifecta of scores before turning his attention to New England.

“Getting [a hat trick] here at this level is pretty surreal,” Meram said. “Honestly, I didn’t think that would happen in my career, but I always believed I had the ability to score goals. So, overall, it was great.”

Just named MLS Player of the Week on Tuesday, Meram also joined the 30-goals and 30-assists club for Crew SC in the victory. It only took the midfielder eight matches to advance from the 25/25 club to the 30/30 club, and he has no intention of slowing down.

I’ve spent my whole career here so it’s good to be in that club,” Meram said. “I’m looking to get to 40/40 by the end of this year.”

'Grit and determination'

Midfielder Artur played a full game on Sunday in Montreal, his first since breaking his wrist in the early minutes of the April 22 match against the New York Red Bulls. Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter admired the young Brazilian’s performance.

“I thought it was a tremendous performance for having trained for two days and then playing,” Berhalter said. “It wasn’t perfect, but the work rate, and he came up with some timely tackles and he’s getting the rust off but just the grit and determination to get through 90 minutes was impressive.”

Manneh settling in

Crew SC forward Kekuta Manneh started his first match last Sunday against the Montreal Impact and played 63 minutes. The highly-touted acquisition has started to become familiar with his new surroundings since being traded to Columbus from the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 30.

“It’s a lot different than I thought it would be when I got here,” Manneh said. “I know the guys pretty well and they’ve been taking me out and we’ve been hanging out. I finally got an apartment the other day so it’s nice, I like it.”

When asked about his favorite spot so far in the city, Manneh replied quickly with an answer that a fellow Columbus resident could relate to.

“North Market,” Manneh said. “It’s my favorite spot.”

They said it…

Justin Meram shed a little insight on Tuesday into an interesting interaction he had on Saturday before his hat trick-clinching third goal in Montreal.

“At halftime, [Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter] asked me if I had ever scored a hat trick. I said 'no,' and he said well, why don’t you go get yourself one.”

►Crew SC midfielder Justin Meram

Crew SC next visits New England Revolution on May 21 and Toronto FC on May 26.

The Black & Gold return to MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus to host the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders on May 31.