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Justin Meram has contract extension, both goals to carry Crew SC past OCSC

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COLUMBUS -- According to ESPN, Crew midfielder Justin Meram tripled his salary when he signed a 3-year contract extension three weeks ago with Columbus Crew SC.

Meram has paid early season dividends with three goals, two against Orlando City SC Saturday in the 2-0 win Saturday at Mapfre Stadium as the Black and Gold retained a share of first place in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer.

The two goals brought Meram’s season total to three, following last week’s goal against Portland. This was Meram’s second-ever brace in the regular-season and his first brace since a 3-0 win at MAPFRE Stadium against Chivas USA on September 7, 2014.

To date, Meram has made 159 regular-season appearances (107 starts), scored 27 goals and provided 28 assists. He is the longest-tenured player in the current Black & Gold roster and ranks 11th in the all-time regular-season goal-scoring chart for Crew SC.

Midfielder Artur notched his first regular-season assist for the Black & Gold, setting up Justin Meram’s opening goal against Orlando. The Brazilian made five tackles today, two more than anyone else on the field. Artur has made five appearances (four starts) for Crew SC in the 2017 MLS regular season.

Federico Higuain notched his second assist of the season and 37th regular-season assist for Crew SC in 128 appearances (123 starts). It was his second consecutive assist of the season following a helper last week against Portland. Today’s assist tied the Argentine with Brian Maissonneuv for fifth in the all-time regular-season assists chart for the club. Higuain has played every minute of every match for the Black & Gold in the 2017 MLS season.

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen registered his second MLS career win and second MLS career shutout with today’s 2-0 win over Orlando. He also made a season and career-high four saves on the night. Steffen has started in all five of the Black & Gold’s regular-season matches this season, recording 13 saves.

Crew SC earned its third victory of the 2017 MLS season and the club’s third consecutive victory of the regular season. The Black & Gold’s last three consecutive regular-season victories came on October 11, 2014 against the Philadelphia Union (3-2), October 19, 2014 against the New York Red Bulls (3-1) and on October 26, 2014 against the Philadelphia Union (2-1).

Today’s match marked the sixth all-time regular-season meeting between the Black & Gold and Orlando. With the win, Crew SC’s all-time regular-season record against Orlando is now 3-1-2. It was the club’s second consecutive regular-season victory against Orlando.

Crew SC next plays on Saturday, April 8 when it travels to Toyota Park to take on the Chicago Fire (2:00 p.m. ET / ABC-6, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).

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