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Meram scores off a well drilled set piece routine

Saturday's goal wasn't left to chance.

Columbus Crew SC scored on a nice corner kick on Saturday. It may not have been obvious on first glance, but it was a planned play to take advantage of

Berhalter, being coy, referenced the play during post game questioning. When asked about the goal he simply replied, "We wanted to take advantage of their man-to-man marking, and we did." That answer belies excellent game planning and execution.

First, tackling the execution. This goal isn't scored if Federico Higuain doesn't serve in an excellent kick that swings in towards the near post with a good amount of drop since it has to clear the first man, Kei Kamara, to get to the intended target, Justin Meram. Kamara makes a nice run while Meram cuts with purpose and finishes well.

The more interesting is the routine that Columbus deploys. It's not an intricate training ground play, but impressively uses the weapons at Crew SC's disposal in a novel way.

Kamara is an athletic freak of nature and Dallas knows this. They decide to double team him so that he's well covered by both Matt Hedges and Max Urruti. Hedges is 6'4" and likely the best aerial defender Dallas has. Urruti is a big and physical 6'0". Kamara cuts towards Higuain, drawing both away from the box.

Meram (6' 1") is matched up one on one against Mayor Figueroa, who at 5'11" isn't the aerial presence of either Urruti or Hedges. Without help, Figueroa is caught on the opposite side of the service and Meram has a near free header.


Kamara wasn't necessarily a decoy as he's able to score glancing headers, but the routine now gives Columbus two very good near post scoring options.

Even Kamara admitted to it in a tweet on Sunday.

Kamara shouldn't worry. While opposing teams are worrying about the terror that Kamara brings on set pieces, the coaching staff, especially assistant coach Pat Onstad, will be thinking of new ways to get the most out of the excellent players at their disposal.