Justin Meram may be a veteran, but he's still got plenty to give on the field.
Atlanta is the third MLS team for the 30-year-old in a year's time, but hitting a trademark blast on his first tally for the Five Stripes, cutting inside and unleashing a diagonal bomb from distance, made him feel right at home.
“Once I got by the guy I was in a position that I love -- to cut in from the left side and I hit it,” Meram said to reporters after the game. “It was a great strike.”
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After scoring the winner, in a scramble near the goal line, Meram was exuberant, and explained why he changed from his usual, more stoic celebration.
“This was a different celebration. It was a celebration of joy for the city and these fans to really bring me in as one of the guys,” Meram said. “That means so much as a player and I’m very thankful for that.”
Brought in as depth following his trade from Columbus Crew SC, where Meram had enjoyed the best years of his pro career, Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer complimented the veteran for being ready when his name was called -- and stepping up when they needed him.
“We know he is two-footed and he has a really solid shot with the inside of his feet that he’s already shown in practice,” De Boer said. “He’s practicing and he was really determined to show himself for the public and for the fans because he wants to be important. He already said it before the game -- 'I can make an impact' -- so just show it and he showed it.
"It’s great for him, it’s great for me, it’s great for the fans, great for the club and great for his teammates. Really pleased with his performance.”