It should have been a weekend in Belgium with a pair of games having great American interest, but it was not to be as Kyle Duncan missed out due to injury and Mark McKenzie missed out for reasons unknown.

Genk 2 – 0 Kortrijk

Bryan Reynolds and KV Kortrijk made the journey northeast to Limburg to take on Mark McKenzie and Genk in one of two clashes of American vs American.

However, it was not to be the case as McKenzie didn’t make the team sheet.

Reynolds did start for the guests, and played the full 90 minutes in a losing effort as Paul Onuachu and Joseph Paintsil found the back of the net for the hosts as they clung onto the last playoff spot.

The hosts broke out of the starting gates with goals on their minds and it was their Norwegian Kristian Thorstvedt who threatened not once but twice early on, though he was unable to light up the scoreboard. 

Onuachu had the next chance but Marko Ilic made the save. The Serbian wasn’t so fortunate the next time when Junya Ito delived the ball into the box; the big Nigerian didn’t miss as he headed it between the posts to give Genk the lead after 17 minutes.

After Ilic kept Munoz out of his goal, with just 22 minutes on the clock, Onuachu became provider as Paintsil scored only his second goal of the season. 

After that, the was scoring done, although the hosts peppered the Kortrijk goal with 19 total shots.  The visitors only had eight shots of their own but couldn’t breach the Smurfs’ defense.

The Kerels find themselves in 11th place as the weekend ended, and will have their hands full in their next game when they welcome league leaders Union St Gilloise. Genk, on the other hand, will head to the Venice of the North to take on Cercle Brugge.

Oostende 0 – 0 Sint-Truiden

In what should have also been a Yank vs. Yank clash on the Belgian coast, Chris Durkin put in a 71-minute shift for the Canaries but Kyle Duncan missed out due to injury as the two teams shared the points.

The game, which was by no means entertaining for the fans, had only a total of three shots on goal, but the result will be a very welcome point for KVO as they distance themselves from the drop zone. 

For the Canaries however, it’s two points dropped as they fight for eighth place and a playoff spot with just five games left to their season.

The game’s first chance was from Sint-Truiden, which came from a corner kick, but Christian Bruls’ delivery was headed wide of the target by Taichi Hara. KVO had a sniff at goal soon afterwards but Makhtar Gueye made a mess of it.  Later in the half it was the visitors’ turn once again to blow a chance at scoring.

The second half was no better for either team. Durkin was the recipient of a cross in the box, but his header towards goal was typical for the day, as he too missed the target. 

A few other misses and the game ended not with a bang, but a whimper, as T.S. Eliot might have described it.

Both teams have a week to think about their dismal performances before getting back to action. Durkin and STVV will host sixth place Mechelen, while KVO heads to the capital city to take on Anderlecht.

Club Brugge 4 – 1 Antwerp

It goes without saying that Owen Otasowie was nowhere to be found, in or around the Jan Breydel Stadium when the defending Belgian champions hosted and destroyed Royal Antwerp. 

Sam Vines suited up for the Great Old and put in a 77 minute shift as his team blew their chance to leapfrog Club and get themselves into second place.

The visitors actually got on the score sheet first thanks to prolific goal-getter Michael Frey who scored for the 20 time this campaign in the 29th minute. 

It didn’t last very long however because former Fulham defender Denis Odoi got Club back on terms two minutes later.  Hans Vanaken then scored from the penalty spot six minutes later, and that was all that was needed to collect all the points. 

But the hosts weren’t done and in the second half bagged a couple more.

Armenian attacker Sargis Adamyan, who replaced the injured Charles De Ketelaere, took advantage of his rare opportunity and bagged his second goal of the season. Winger Andreas Skov Olsen also took advantage of a rare appearance and scored for the first time for Club. 

The champions made up a bit of ground on top of the table USG, after Union could only manage a scoreless draw with Eupen in Brussels.  The gap is just seven points with five regular season games left.

Notes

Jacob Montes was not even named to the bench when Molenbeek left it very late to secure a 3-1 win against Lierse in Brussels. Having gone down a goal in the 65th minute, they were the recipient of an own goal in the 81st minute. They then scored in the 91st and 92nd minutes to snatch the points and move up into that vital second place playoff spot. Next up is a trip to Mouscron but whether or not their young American takes part remains to be seen.

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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