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Orlando City Gives Justin Meram Three Days Off for Personal Reasons

The struggling attacker will miss Saturday’s match.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Orlando City vs Miami United Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City midfielder/forward Justin Meram will get some time to himself after the club released him for three days for “personal reasons,” according to ProSoccerUSA’s Jordan Culver.

Meram, who told Pro Soccer USA the past four months have been challenging, will not be available for selection for the Lions’ match against Atlanta United.

He was not a training Friday morning, either.

The club could provide no further comment regarding Meram’s absence. Meram trained with Orlando City on Thursday.

Meram has been having a hard time this season, both on and off the field. On the field, he has just two goals and three assists in 17 games, including U.S. Open Cup play. After coming over from the Columbus Crew in the off-season for $1.05 million in combined allocation money and an international roster spot, the Iraqi international was expected to play a vital part in the Lions’ attack. However, while he has been getting opportunities, Meram has not produced as was expected. This struggle to find the back of the net has led to off-field issues with fans.

“What I’ve dealt with, death threats or, comments of – you know we have Mason [Stajduhar] here who just came over cancer – but comments of, ‘You know, you look like a cancer patient,’” Meram said to ProSoccerUSA. “These things… it’s so easy for these people to sit at home or on their phone or in the stands and make these comments about a player. But, you know, they want success.”

Meram should be back in training by the middle of next week. The veteran has been a consistent figure in Orlando’s starting XI and so his absence will mean opportunities for other players. Stéfano Pinho or Chris Mueller will likely to be one of the players that takes the Iraqi’s spot. Pinho often comes in and plays on the left, while Mueller has often played right wing. It’s possible that both Mueller and Josué Colmán could start on the wings as Pinho too has failed to produce much this season.