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An Open Letter to Gregg Berhalter: Use Meram as the Forward he is

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Playing Meram as a true No. 9 will lead to a much more dangerous team. Shots fired. Awaiting Berhalter's response.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Gregg,

I acknowledge you have made plenty of good personnel decisions in your tenure with Crew SC despite not contacting me. We both know, however, that this run of luck is bound to run out sometime. Because of this, I offer my unsolicited advice: play "J9" in his most natural position as a striker. With all the new talent acquired to play the left wing and the slim options at forward, he can be released. Justin Meram is at his best on the edge of the 18 yard box awaiting service to unleash the shot that strikes fear into keepers MLS wide, the meat hook.

Playing him as a forward allows his weaknesses to be masked. While he's dilligent on defence, it's certainly not his strength. He is better off the ball than on it (unless he is shooting of course). According to Squawka, Meram is below team average in skills that are primary for wingers: pass accuracy (75%/82%) and tackles/take on wins (44%/49%) but markedly above team average in shot accuracy (50%/44%). That 50% shot accuracy is the  exact same as LA Galaxy and USMNT wunderkind Gyasi Zardes who scored 15 goals last year. Playing him up top allows him to spend more time centrally, which is where he drifts anyway, in position to use his elite scoring ability.

Don't misunderstand me, Meram was good on the left wing last year... but are we really only aiming to build a good soccer team? I heard you say you wanted a dangerous team. Meat hooks are dangerous. Unburden Meram with the duties of a left winger. I know, I know, Meram struggled as a forward early in his career, but he is a different player now who can change the game with a single kick.

Playing Meram as a true No. 9 will lead to a much more dangerous team.

Drop It Twice,

Matt Weisgarber