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Meram's brace helps Crew rout Chivas USA

Sep 7, 2014 - 9:02 PM Columbus, OH ( - Justin Meram netted a second-half brace on Sunday as the Columbus Crew rolled to a 3-0 victory over Chivas USA at Crew Stadium.

Meram struck in the 52nd and 59th minutes and Bernardo Anor added a third goal late on to help Columbus claim an important three points and push the Crew into the thick of the playoff race and into a third-place tie in the East with Philadelphia and New England.

Chivas USA, meanwhile, struggled to create many quality scoring opportunities over the course of 90 minutes and saw their winless run in league play extended to nine matches.

Both clubs had a difficult time carving out scoring chances in the first half, but the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes came on the stroke of halftime when Aaron Schoenfeld was pulled down by Ryan Finley in the box on a corner kick, resulting in a penalty kick.

Federico Higuain stepped up to the spot, but smashed his strike off the crossbar and the sides went into the break level.

Despite missing the penalty, Columbus broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute when Meram fired a well-placed curling effort past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy from the left side of the penalty area for his sixth tally of the season.

Seven minutes later the hosts doubled their advantage and it was Meram for a second time as he intercepted the ball just past midfield, dribbled to the top of the box and beat Kennedy again with a low strike into the bottom right corner of the net.

Anor added an extra insurance goal 10 minutes from time to seal it for Columbus, sending the Goats to their 15th loss of the campaign.