Atlanta United wing back Justin Meram has reportedly declined to participate with his national team, Iraq, during the Fifa international break that takes place Oct. 7-15.
UPDATE: Justin Meram has dropped out of the #Iraq squad.— Soccer Iraq (@SoccerIraq) September 30, 2019
Reports suggest that the reason is Justin would play an @MLS game just two days before travelling which would tire him, and the later trip to Cambodia would further increase his fatigue. ✈️ pic.twitter.com/k5YM2faSM3
Iraq is scheduled to play World Cup Qualifying matches on October 10 vs. Hong Kong and October 15 in Cambodia. Atlanta United’s first round playoff match will take place on October 19.
This is the tough part about playing internationally for a team in Asia. The travel is absolutely brutal. If he were to go, he’d be looking at spending well over 24 hours on board an aircraft in the days preceding the biggest match of the season. It’s an unfortunate situation in which either Atlanta United or the Iraqi FA loses out, and at the end of the day, players tend to have lean toward the entities that pay them their wages.
For Atlanta United fans, it’s good news. The last international break in which Meram participated for Iraq in September (if even for only one of their two games) seemed to derail his incredibly hot form he’d shown for the Five Stripes in the preceding games. Frank de Boer will surely be happy to have as many of his first team players involved in training as the team ramps up for a win-or-go-home game.