Justin Meram (right) battles Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the ball. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
COLUMBUS – Justin Meram is returning to Columbus.
Columbus Crew SC Friday announced that it has reacquired the midfielder from Orlando City SC in exchange for $750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an international roster slot for the 2019 Major League Soccer season.
Meram played for the Black & Gold from 2011-2017, making 188 regular-season appearances (134 starts) while becoming one of only five players in club history to register at least 30 goals and 30 assists for the team.
“We are pleased to welcome Justin back to Crew SC,” sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “He has proven to be one of the League’s elite attacking players over the past few years as he helped establish our club’s style of play and define our wide attacking midfield profile. He complements our current attacking corps and understands our environment, so we are confident he will adapt quickly and make our team better as we aim to qualify for the postseason. He has already left a distinct mark in our club’s history and we look forward to the next chapter.”
During his first seven years in Columbus, Meram rose to join the club’s all-time leaders in several regular-season categories, including: third in game-winning goals (13), fifth in appearances (188), fifth in shots (321) and shots on goal (121), tied for 10th in starts (134), sixth in goals (37) and seventh in assists (33).
The 29-year-old midfielder spent the first part of this season with Orlando City SC, making 17 regular-season appearances (14 starts), while recording one goal and three assists. Meram was selected by Columbus as the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.