Columbus Crew SC players proved to be integral parts of their respective national teams while away on international duty this past week, with five Black & Gold players totaling a combined nine caps, three assists, two goals, and one tournament MVP award.
Midfielder Justin Meram posted an exceptional outing for the Iraqi National Team during the 2019 International Friendship Championship – a series of friendlies between Iraq, Jordan, and Syria – en route to earning Player of the Tournament honors.
Thankful for my teammates for helping me achieve this award. Two great wins in Basra 🇮🇶 https://t.co/AleeG31EUI— Justin Meram (@JustinMeram) March 26, 2019
Meram, who started in each of Crew SC’s first two regular-season matches, scored the game-winner in Iraq’s 1-0 win over Syria on March 20 before delivering the game-sealing assist in a 3-2 win over Jordan on March 26. With two appearances on the week, Meram has now earned 31 career caps for Iraq.
Stateside, forward Gyasi Zardes earned one goal and one assist in a pair of caps against Ecuador and Chile on March 21 and March 26, respectively, to bring his career cap total to 44. Zardes scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory vs. Ecuador before setting up the U.S. Men’s National Team’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw vs. Chile
Midfielder Wil Trapp started in the USMNT’s win over Ecuador before subbing on in the second half versus Chile. Notably, Trapp’s first ever MNT cap came against Chile on January 28, 2015, as did his most recent on March 26, 2019, marking his 15th career cap with the Stars and Stripes.
Defender Waylon Francis earned a start in Costa Rica’s opening friendly vs. Guatemala on March 22, as Los Ticos fell 1-0. The appearance marked the World Cup veteran’s seventh cap.
For the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, Homegrown Player Aboubacar Keita earned his first two caps with the U-20 side, first subbing on in a 2-2 comeback draw against France on March 23 before starting in a 2-1 win over Japan on March 25. Against France, Keita delivered the game-tying assist, while against Japan, the 18-year-old defender helped keep a 0-0 scoreline throughout the opening 45 minutes before subbing out at halftime. Notably, both France and Japan have qualified for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in Poland, as has the U.S., which cemented its place in the tournament last November.