On Saturday night, Columbus Crew SC secured a 2017 playoff berth with a 2-0 win over old-school rival D.C. United. The first step toward claiming glory was brought to you by the second apparently now-weekly installment of the Josh & Justin Show.
Last week, Meram put Columbus ahead and then Williams scored the insurance goal that would eventually become the game-winner. This week, Williams put Columbus ahead and then Meram, not to be outdone, added a spectacular insurance goal.
“Did he think he was going to score and I’m not going to do anything about it?” joked Meram. “Nah, it’s great to score back to back games with my boy.”
Until a week ago, Williams hadn’t scored since April 27, 2013. With goals in consecutive weeks, he laughed at the throng of reporters waiting for him at his locker.
“Score a couple goals and things change at this locker,” he noted.
The 14th minute goal was the product of a Federico Higuain corner kick. Williams inexplicably found himself wide open in the middle of the D.C. box and redirected the ball to the far side netting, just past the outstretched hand of former teammate Steve Clark.
“I just run to a spot and Pipa (Higuain) or Pedro (Sanchez) put it there,” he said. “It takes a second of courage to put your head in there, but on this one I was pretty open. I just tried to get good contact on it.”
But the placement … did he pick his spot to hit the side netting?
“Yeah, of course I did!” he said with a laugh, before coming clean. “I was just trying to turn it on goal and then it’s celebration time.”
The celebration was a rough one, like he’d launched a walk-off home run in a baseball game.
“These guys beat me up, man,” he said. “These guys were pounding on me.”
A reporter asked who scored the better goal, Williams or Meram?
“It’s not even close, man!” Williams declared. “It’s not even close. I was just joking before the last game that he hasn’t scored a meathook in a while, and now he’s got two in two games. When you score a goal like that, I don’t even know why you guys are talking to me. Talk to that guy. Amazing goal from him.”
Meram wasn’t at his locker at the time, which is why everyone was talking to Williams. Meram’s goal was filthy. Artur played a ball to the outer left corner of the D.C. box. Hector Jimenez dummied the ball through his legs to let it carry on to Meram, who took one touch and then unleashed a dipping curler of a shot (aka “The Meathook”) that kissed the bottom of the crossbar on its way to the far side netting. Former teammate Steve Clark had no chance to save it.
“Justin’s goal was obviously fantastic,” said Crew SC captain Wil Trapp. “Especially on a guy in Steve that knows all of his tricks. To be able to put it in a spot where Steve couldn’t save it was pretty special.”
While obviously thrilled by the goal, none of Meram’s teammates seemed to express much amazement in his accuracy since they see it in training every day. Meram didn’t seem too shocked either when talking to reporters after returning to his locker.
“I’m not surprised about my accuracy,” he said. “It’s something I work on a lot. Hector makes a heads up play and it comes to me in a spot that I’m comfortable with. Last week I finished it, and this week I topped it.”
As for Williams ragging on Meram for not scoring on his patented meathook shots, prompting him to score on them two weeks in a row, Meram showed he can fire shots off the field too.
“He better shut his mouth,” Meram said. “Every time he opens it, I shut it for him.”
On a more serious note, the Josh & Justin Show played out before a very special audience. Both Meram and Williams were touched to learn that Kirk Urso’s family was at the game to be present for the annual rewarding of scholarships by Crew SC’s Kirk Urso Memorial Fund. Beloved in the locker room, Urso was a rookie with Columbus in 2012 when he unexpectedly passed away from an undetected congenital heart defect.
Meram and Williams are the two remaining teammates of Urso’s still in the Crew SC locker room, so for both of them to score while Kirk’s parents, Mike and Sandy, and his brother, Kyle, were in town, made it a special night. Neither player knew about it until after the game, however.
“That’s amazing,” Williams said upon learning that the Ursos were in the house. “That’s for Kirk, then. I wish I would have known they were here because I would have done something for them. I dedicate that goal to Kirk and I’m glad his family was here to see it. I feel so much better about that goal now that I know that.”
Meram saw Sandy Urso in the stands as he walked off the field.
“I love them to death,” Meram said of the Ursos. “I saw Mrs. Urso and gave her a kiss and a hug. To see them still come here and cheer for us, it gives me chills. I’m just glad we have that relationship and that family love. Kirk’s always with us and the family’s always with us through the years.”
The Josh & Justin Show was a rare instance where the sequel was even better than the original.