Not only was it a big three points for Columbus, who are in a tight battle for the final Major League Soccer playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Black & Gold also reached the 1,000 MLS goal milestone on Saturday.
That honor now belongs to Justin Meram, the club’s longest-tenured player, who scored the team’s second goal against the rivals in the 73rd minute.
The historic goal also made the 28-year-old winger, who joined the team in 2011, the seventh all-time goal scorer for Crew SC with 34 career league goals, surpassing club legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
“Great ball to Waylon [Francis], he’s really good at serving that final pass and finally my ass gets in the box and puts away a one touch finish,” Meram described. “We have a lot of quality guys and it means a lot to be up there with some of the key players in the past.”
One of MLS original franchises, Crew SC is only the fifth team to reach the milestone, joining the LA Galaxy, D.C. United, the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas. To head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter, that’s an accomplishment to be celebrated.
“It’s great,” he commented. “I think you take for granted what Columbus Crew SC means to this league and its history. To get the 1,000th goal is special, this is a special club. I think the fans have been there from day one and it’s nice to get that 1,000th goal.”
The match was also special for forward Ola Kamara. The Norwegian forward celebrated his 50th appearance in a Crew SC uniform with a goal of his own, his 28th with the club.
“I think Ola is a very clever player and his movement off the ball is exceptional,” Berhalter praised. “If you see the movement when Cristian [Martinez] passed it to him, it was great. The defense shifted to the left and he opened up on the right and was able to get the ball. I think his movement is exceptional, it’s great for him to have played in 50 games and the scoring rate that he has is an accomplishment.”