Justin Meram may not be going through his best moment with Columbus Crew SC, as he recently lost his starting spot with the Black & Gold, but his form with the Iraqi National Team remains steadfast. The winger scored the game-winning goal of the Asian team’s 1-0 triumph over Syria in Basra, Iraq, in an international friendly tournament on Wednesday.
The Lion of Mesopotamia, who wore the jersey number seven, fired his trademark curled right-footed shot — the meat hook — from inside the penalty box in the 75th minute mark and counted on a deflection in a Syrian defender to score the lone goal of the match.
Both Crew fans and head coach Caleb Porter hope Meram’s success with Iraq results in a performance improvement from the winger when he returns to Columbus last week, as Porter said after last weekend’s game against FC Dallas.
“I think going off to play for the national team and coming back, I’m confident that he’ll come back and he’ll be kind of a new guy,” Porter said on the occasion.
The last time Meram scored for Columbus was in early September of last year when he found the back of the net in a 2-1 win over New York City FC at MAPFRE Stadium. The winger has gone 13 games since then, including the MLS Cup playoffs, without finding the back of the net, registering just one assist.
After scoring 13 goals goals in 2017, Meram requested a trade following the season. During the 2018 preseason, he was traded to Orlando City. After starting hot, with one goal and two assists in his first seven games with Orlando, Meram had just one assist in his remaining 10 games before he was dropped and eventually traded back to the Crew.
Meram remains with the Iraqi National Team until Tuesday, for their game against Jordan in their second and last match at the International Championship Friendship.