Justin Meram's "meat hook" shot a symbol of Columbus Crew winger's evolution

It's been called the "meat hook" -- a curling right-footed shot that bends around a defender and into the far lower corner.

And it's becoming Justin Meram's trademark shot.   

He pulled it off again on Sunday, opening the scoring in what became a 3-0 win for the Columbus Crew over Chivas USA. Meram, playing on the left side, cut onto his preferred right foot and bent a "meat hook" -- the nickname was given to it by Crew assistant coach Josh Wolff -- that swerved around a few defenders and past Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy.

"I kind of took a touch and wanted to serve it but no one really stepped [to me]," Meram said after the match. "So I figured I'd take another touch, and when I took another touch I was in my spot and let it go...it's just comfortable."

Given the success Meram has had from his "spot" this season, Meram was surprised that Chivas allowed him so much space.

"I can thank them later if you want," he said, laughing.

The winger's Sunday afternoon double -- he added a second, well-placed goal a few minutes after the first -- marked his sixth and seventh goals of the season. He has netted five goals and two assists in his last five appearances and has become a regular starter. And now, the 25-year-old says, he knows what he needs to do to maintain his position and impact.

"Stay humble through it all, one game at a time," he said. "It's not that you have to score every time or every game. You just have to play consistent. That was my biggest battle throughout my career, being consistent. I'm just hitting my stride right now."

"For [Meram], it's focusing mentally for every game, every performance, to put it in and be effective," head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "We're asking him to take chances, play aggressive, and when he does that he's really good."

Meram, who played collegiately at the University of Michigan, is now in his 4th season as a pro. He has already put up career highs for goals, assists, appearances, and starts.

"He has quality, and that's the most important thing," Berhalter said. "He can make plays and he has the ability to shoot and go one-on-one, and that's very good. It's a high level for this league, so he's going to be dangerous."

The difference between being dangerous and being effective is thin, but Meram seems to have finally figured it out and says he knows why.

"Being more experienced and being aware of what to do in those situations and not to panic," he said. "It's just growing as a player. In the beginning stages you kind of panic when you get there, and now it kind of just opens up for me."

Once it opens up, the opportunity to use the meat hook seems to present itself again and again.

"I'll keep using it as long as it goes in," Meram said.