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Former Orlando City winger Justin Meram not in lineup for Columbus Crew’s match against the Lions

Winger Justin Meram was acquired by Orlando City in the offseason from the Columbus Crew. He played with Orlando City for six months before he was traded back to the Crew. . (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

ORLANDO — Former Orlando City winger Justin Meram, who played for the Lions for six months before he was traded back to Columbus Crew SC, is not in the lineup for the Crew’s match against the Lions in Orlando City Stadium. 

This contradicts reports saying he was looking forward to playing in the game. 

“I’m excited to play the game, and I’m sure that club’s excited for me to play the game,” Meram told the Columbus Dispatch. “It’ll be interesting. For me, it’ll be another game, another opponent. I know some of the guys, but I’m not too worried about it, to be honest. I’m honestly not worried about it one bit.”

Meram was acquired from the Crew in the offseason as part of a massive roster rebuild in exchange for $750,000 of Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), $300,000 of General Allocation Money and a 2019 international roster spot.

He was sent back to the Crew at the start of August in exchange for $750,000 in TAM and a 2019 international slot, so Orlando City essentially paid $300,000 of General Allocation Money for six months with Meram.

Meram’s time with Orlando City was filled with criticism from Lions’ supporters. After a Man of the Match-caliber performance in Orlando City’s season opener against D.C. United, Meram struggled to find is way on the pitch and didn’t score a league goal until City’s 2-1 loss to Atlanta United on May 13.

After he spoke to Pro Soccer USA in June about his struggles on and off the pitch, Meram was given a three-day leave of absence from the club. He missed Orlando City’s second match against Atlanta United, a 4-0 loss, on June 30.

“This has probably been the hardest four months, maybe, of my life, my career,” Meram said before his leave of absence.

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