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Columbus Crew trade Justin Meram to Orlando City

Columbus Crew SC forward Justin Meram (9) splits Orlando City SC midfielder Cristian Higuita (7) and Orlando City SC midfielder Antonio Nocerino (23) while drubbing in the 2nd half of their game at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on April 1, 2017. [Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch]

Columbus Crew midfielder Justin Meram is heading to Orlando City.

The news was first reported by ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle and later confirmed by Meram.

The Crew will receive $1.05 million of allocation money — $750,000 in targeted allocation money (TAM) and $300,000 in general allocation money (GAM) — and an international roster spot from the Lions in exchange for Meram.

The midfielder posted a note on social media thanking the Columbus fans, teammates and coaches for their support, then looked ahead to his tenure with Orlando City.

“I am so excited for this opportunity, your belief in me and I am ready to help this club achieve great things in the near future,” Meram posted on Twitter.

Orlando City landed an experienced midfielder who, along with former New York Red Bulls standout Sacha Kljestan, should provide a spark for the Lions’ attack that often struggled to finish the past few seasons.

“Justin is the ideal fit to round out our attacking group. He’s a proven contributor in our league who can both score and create goals,” Lions general manager Niki Budalic said. “His 1-v-1 ability and versatility to operate in various roles will add another dimension to our attack.”

Meram has played for Columbus since 2011 and signed a new, multi-year contract in March, 2017. His most productive year offensively came last season, when he scored 14 goals and eight assists as the Crew marched to the Eastern Conference final. He leaves the club with a total of 40 goals and 35 assists in 200 appearances. 

Ten days ago, the Crew sent forward Ola Kamara to the L.A. Galaxy in exchange for  Gyasi Zardes and $400,000 in allocation money.

Earlier this month, news broke that both Kamara and Meram requested trades during the offseason. 

Orlando City has been rebuilding its roster for 2018, and the Lions are willing to spend for the necessary pieces. 

The club recently sent striker Carlos Rivas and defender Tommy Redding to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for Kljestan, the 2017 MLS assists leader.

And more moves are expected as the club looks to add a centerback and awaits a resolution to striker Cyle Larin’s Beşiktaş saga.





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