This article was updated from its original published on May 7, 2019 at 5:22 p.m. ET.
Columbus Crew SC announced on Tuesday the club has traded winger Justin Meram to Atlanta United for $100,000 in General Allocation Money and a second-round 2020 MLS SuperDraft pick. If Atlanta transfers Meram to a club outside of Major League Soccer, the Black & Gold will retain a percentage of the transfer fee. The trade was first reported by Ives Galarcep of Soccer By Ives and more information was added by Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Throughout the year, we are regularly assessing our roster and looking to explore ways to strengthen our team, and this transaction allows for both salary budget space and roster slot availability in the secondary transfer window,” Crew President Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release. “We want to thank Justin for his contributions to Columbus Crew SC during his time with the Club and we wish him the best moving forward.”
This marks the third move for Meram in just over a year. The veteran winger requested a trade from the Crew following the 2017 season. He was subsequently dealt to Orlando City SC on Jan. 2, 2018 for $1.05 million in allocation money plus a 2019 international roster spot. After playing in 17 games, starting 14, and registering one goal and three assists, Meram fell out of favor in Orlando and was traded back to the Black & Gold on Aug. 3 for $750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and the 2019 international roster spot.
In nine games back in Columbus in 2018, Meram started seven times, recording one goal and one assist. Following the season, Gregg Berhalter left the club to become the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach and Caleb Porter was named his successor. Under Porter, Meram started the first two games of 2019 before being replaced in the starting 11 by Robinho in Week 3. Since that point, Meram has started twice and made five substitute appearances, recording no goals or assists this year. Meram was not on the bench for Saturday’s 3-1 loss at D.C. United.
Meram was drafted by the Black & Gold 15th overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. The Iraqi international spent the first seven seasons of his professional career with Crew and leaves the club for a second time fourth on the all-time appearance list with 206 games played for Columbus. Meram is one of only five players in club history to register at least 30 goals and 30 assists for the Crew.
In his first stint with the Black & Gold, Meram scored 37 goals and registered 33 assists while featuring in 188 regular season games. Meram was a part of the Crew side that made a run to the 2015 MLS Cup Final, losing to Porter and the Portland Timbers 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium. That season, Meram scored six goals and added five assists in 31 games played. The winger had the best year of his professional career in 2017 when he scored 13 goals and added seven assists in 34 games.
This is the second trade in two days for Columbus, who, on Monday, made official team team’s trade for David Guzman with the Portland Timbers. The initial transfer window closes at 11:59 p.m. CT on Tuesday and MLS teams will not be permitted to make more moves until the secondary window opens on July 9.
The Crew is currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak after starting the 2019 season 4-1-1. These two moves, and any more that could still occur before the deadline, indicate the front office’s attempts to get things back on the right track sooner rather than later.