When you’ve been dubbed the best winger currently in MLS, put in a historic performance capped off with a hat trick and help your team take all 3 points, chances are it’s going to get you a Total MLS Offensive Player of the Week shout. Welcome to the club, Justin Meram!
The Crew marched into Stade Saputo and were up 2-0 before the 30th minute courtesy of 2 fantastically take Meram goals, first in the 14th minute and second in the 28th minute. After the Impact made a game out of it, drawing level in the 77th minute, it was the Iraqi international to the rescue in the first of 5 stoppage time minutes with a clinical finish from just inside the 18 yard box to complete the hat trick and earn Columbus an important road victory.
The scary part of this is that it could’ve been even more impressive had Evan Bush not denied Meram from the top of the 6 in the 32nd minute. All three goals should be in the conversation of goal of the week. His goal scoring output only tells part of the story though. Despite the 3 goal performance, Meram still played setup man, completing 5 key passes, and pitched in on the back end as well making 3 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 clearances and a block. Fun fact, Meram’s hattrick goal made him the 3rd player in MLS history to do so in stoppage time. Best winger in MLS may not be such a stretch afterall.
The LA Galaxy have not been their usual successful selves in 2017, so far. It’s been a changing of the guard of sorts at StubHub Center; no Bruce and no Keano might have that effect. But there’s been a fairly consistent bright spot emanating from the backline. Since joining MLS, Jelle van Damme has been among the most consistent defenders in the league. An old school, no non-sense, tough as nails center back tasked with holding down the fort; Van Damme did exactly that and earned himself a Total MLS Defensive Player of the Week honour in the process. The big Belgian almost singlehandedly held the Red Bulls at bay, accumulating 1 tackle, 8 interceptions, 10 clearances and 8 recoveries to preserve LA’s 3-1 victory at Red Bull Arena.