Sam Vines was the only American to see significant minutes in Belgium over the weekend while three others played minimal minutes.

Royal Antwerp 2 – 0 Anderlecht

Sam Vines was again in Antwerp’s starting line-up as the Great Old sent Vincent Kompany’s team back to Brussels with no points in the bag after a pair of second half goals from Alhassan Yussuf and Michael Frey sealed the victory.

After the hosts were denied by the crossbar early on, les Mauves had a great opportunity when Anouar Ait El Hadj was served up the ball about 12 yards out but couldn’t get it past Jean Butez, who made a half decent save.

Anderlecht did have a couple more good second half opportunities but it was the Antwerpers who finally opened up the scoring in the 63rd minute.  The team came charging down the field and a ball across the face of the box from Benson Manuel picked out Frey and centered it for his Nigerian team mate, who redirected it into the back of the net from five yards out.

The second goal should have come a lot sooner than it did.  A ball squared for Frey on the edge of the 6 yard box would have found its ways over the goal line but Taylor Harwood-Bellis cleared it as his stepped on the attackers foot.  VAR confirmed the foul and the referee pointed to the spot.  The former Young Boys front man placed the ball on the spot and took a poor penalty that Hendrik Van Crombrugge knocked away.  Unfortunately for the Belgian, Frey reacted the quickest and tucked it away for his 14th goal of the season.

The three points leave Vines and his team mates in second place before the international break, just four points behind the leaders Union St Gilloise.  When they return they’ll hit the road to take on Chris Durkin and Sint Truiden.

Notes

Both Joe Efford and Jacob Montes came off the bench in the final minutes of Waasland-Bevern’s 1-1 draw away to Westerlo.  After the break they’ll host Royal Excel Mouscron.

Mark McKenzie never left the bench when Genk hosted struggling Cercle Brugge and ended up throwing a couple of points away, with the final score 1-1.  They’ll hope to do better when they return to action in a couple of weeks with a trip to take on Beerschot.    

Chris Durkin picked up a few garbage minutes, coming off the bench in the 89th minute for Sint-Truiden.  The Canaries were successful, holding KV Mechelen after they were gifted a first half own goal.  The score ended 1-0.

After the break, the 11th place team will host Royal Antwerp, who are in fourth.

By Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on Amazon.com, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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