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Lalas Abubakar named to MLS Team of the Week; Justin Meram on bench

Both players rewarded for their performance in Crew SC’s 3-1 victory over Chicago.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The atmosphere at MAPFRE Stadium was electric after Columbus Crew SC’s come-from-behind win against rivals the Chicago Fire on Saturday night. Crew SC made sure to close up shop on “Firehouse East” and send Fire fans back to Bridgeview gravely disappointed.

The Black & Gold saw Kekuta Manneh, Justin Meram and Ola Kamara find the score sheet, but really enjoyed an exceptional performance from the defense.

One of the standouts was rookie defender Lalas Abubakar, who earned Major League Soccer Team of the Week for his performance against Chicago.

The 22-year-old had a difficult task of defending high caliber players such as Nemanja Nikolic, David Accam, and Bastian Schweinsteiger. The rookie flourished alongside fellow defenders Josh Williams and Jonathan Mensah, as they limited the Fire to just one goal and three shots on target in the victory and harming a potential Supporters’ Shield run from the Men in Red.

The aforementioned Meram also made the bench for Team of the Week as the midfielder enjoyed a solid performance on Saturday night.

Meram’s goal in the 73rd minute was the 1,000th goal scored by the Black & Gold in Major League Soccer. Columbus become just the fifth team to hit that milestone and join D.C. United, LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, and FC Dallas.

The goal carried great importance for Meram, breaking out of a scoring slump. The midfielder hadn’t scored a goal for Crew SC in the previous four matches.

Meram and Abubakar will look to replicate their performances and gain another three points as they face Orlando City on Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm.