Only two Americans were in the starting lineups over the weekend as Bryan Reynolds and Kortrijk lost again, while Mark McKenzie and Genk took all the points at home.

Genk 2 – 0 Standard Liege

It was a good day in Limburg; Mark McKenzie was back in the starting lineup for Genk as they hosted southern neighbors Standard Liege and came away with a valuable three points against les Rouches at the Cegeka Arena. 

While the American went the distance, picking up a yellow card in the second half, it was Theo Bongonda and Paul Onuachu he did the damage to the visitors’ nets shortly before and shortly after the intermission.

The boys in blue came out of the locker room with three points on their collective minds as they attacked the visitors’ goal from the get-go. The giant Nigerian, Onuachu outjumped his defenders and headed into the back of the net. Unfortunately, after VAR took over two minutes to make a decision, offside was the call.

The assault on Standard’s goal continued, however, and a few Genk players had a sniff at goal, including McKenzie who had a dangerous header. 

Just after Onuachu’s header that was tipped over the crossbar, it was thanks to les Rouches giving the ball away in their own half that eventually saw it end up in the back of the net.  Mike Tresor played Bongonda through and into the box and the Belgian striker easily slotted it home. This came a minute before the referee blew for half-time.

The second half, like the first, started off very well for the Smurfs and especially Onuachu.  Again, masters of their own downfall, Standard have become one of those teams that like playing out from the back but aren’t really very good at it. 

On this occasion, as the clock struck 53 minutes, to be precise, Moussa Sissako received a ball from his defensive partner just at the top of the 18-yard box. The pass was poor and as the Mali international tried to play it back to his keeper; the giant Nigerian attacker was too quick for him, nicked the ball and scored from just inside the box.

The win puts Genk into eighth place, the last playoff spot for a chance at playing in Europe next season. The Limburgers still have eight games to play until the end of the regular season. They’ll look to do the same on Wednesday evening when they host Mechelen, who are one place above them in the standings. 

Beerschot 2 – 1 Kortrijk

Bryan Reynolds was thrown into the starting lineup again when the Kerels headed up to Antwerp to go up against cellar-dwellers Beerschot. Their terrible form continued as they have now suffered their fifth consecutive defeat against a team that has been struggling all season.

Things began well for the visitors who only narrowly dominated possession throughout the game.  They found the back of the net after just ten minutes when Reynolds started the attack from his own half with a ball to Dylan Mbayo up the right flank. 

The Belgian then picked out Marios Moreno just at the top of the D. The Colombian striker however took what looked like too much time on the ball, but it worked to his benefit as his shot took a big deflection and ended up fooling the Beerschot keeper.

At the half hour mark, the teams were on level terms when Felipe Avenatti was fortunate that the ball aimed for him was too high for defender Trenth Sainsbury to head out of harm’s way.  It fell to the Uruguayan and he dribbled a few yards into the D and left off a lovely curling left-footed shot that left the keeper stranded.

The game-winner came three minutes before the intermission from a beautifully worked team goal. Just inside the top left of the 18 yard box and with his back to goal, Scotsman Lawrence Shankland tapped the incoming pass to his left, right into the path of Ilias Sebaoui, who smashed it in from about a dozen yards out.

The loss is a big blow to KVK but not so much that they have to concern themselves about falling into any serious relegation threat. It did however put a dent in their European aspirations though it still remains a possibility. 

Over the weekend Zulte Waregem, a team just three points from the relegation places, will come to the Guldensporen Stadium to help Kortrijk continue their losing streak.

Notes

Kyle Duncan was not on the team sheet on Saturday evening when KV Oostende was comprehensively beaten by KV Mechelen on the road by a 3-0 score. This leaves the Seasiders with just five points out of a possible 15. Too close to the relegation zone for comfort, KVO will look to improve their goal scoring prowess when they welcome Standard Liege to the Diaz Arena.

Back from yellow card suspension, Chris Durkin never got off the bench the bench when Sint-Truiden shocked the Pro League by beating league leaders Union St Gilloise by a 1-0 score in Brussels on Sunday afternoon. The American will be hoping to get back onto the field this weekend when STVV hosts OH Leuven.

Sam Vines was left on the bench when Royal Antwerp picked up a 1-0 road victory on Friday night against struggling Seraing. With the victory, the Great Old close the gap to just eight points between themselves and USG. Mechelen will make the short trip on Saturday evening to Antwerp where Vines will hopefully be back in the starting XI.

As has become the norm, Owen Otasowie did not suit up for Club Brugge’s 2-0 win over Sporting Charleroi. The American is more than likely not be with the team when they make the long trip to Eupen on Sunday.

Jacob Montes did not make the team sheet on Sunday afternoon when Molenbeek hosted and then beat Deinze by one goal to none. The win leaves them in second place, eight points behind leaders Westerlo. Up next for the Brussels based team will be a trip north to take on third place Waasland-Beveren and possibly Montes’ Molenbeek debut.

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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