Luca de la Torre netted the eventual winning goal for Heracles while Cole Bassett continued to earn substitute minutes for Feyenoord in this weekend’s Dutch Eredivisie action.
Heracles Almelo 2 – 0 PEC Zwolle
Heracles got the job done versus last-place Zwolle on Saturday, with a goal on either side of the half giving them a straightforward path to victory.
The American midfielder Luca de la Torre put in a man-of-the-match performance from his position in the midfield, scoring what would be the winning goal in his 84-minute shift.
Apart from the goal, he completed nearly 80% of his 28 attempted passes amidst his 42 total touches, took two shots and completed five key passes to teammates, in a showing that will put him in in the discussion to serve as injured Weston McKennie’s replacement in the upcoming USMNT World Cup qualifiers.
Heracles peppered the opposing end with pressure in the early going, and de la Torre got the scoring underway in the 19th minute, taking advantage of an overly-aggressive approach from the Zwolle keeper Kostantinos Lamprou.
Anas Ouahim maintained possession deep in Zwolle territory after a collision with his marking defender. As he continued his advance towards the area, Lamprou stormed towards the Heracles player, giving Quahim an easy outlet to square the ball to de la Torre at 25 yards from goal.
The American coolly chipped the ball with his first touch, sending it floating into the empty net for the lead.
The hosts continued their pressure, and were perhaps unlucky to have not added to their total before the halftime whistle. Nevertheless overmatched cellar-dwellers somehow kept it tight until Heracles added an insurance goal ten minutes into the second half.
The goal was a result of the sheer persistence of Turkish forward Sinan Bakis, whose initial attempt from 15 yards was blocked, but landed back at his foot, where he fought for possession and space between three defenders before launching his low shot between several players past Lamprou for the 2-0.
de la Torre left the game with a few minutes on the clock, seemingly as a precaution after a physically rough shift.
Heracles climb to 11th place in the Eredivisie standings, still likely out of reach of a top-seven spot for the European playoffs, but likely safe from any relegation threat.
They are back in action on Sunday with a trip to PSV.
Cole Bassett earned a few more minutes for Feyenoord Rotterdam, coming in as an 87th-minute substitute as they searched for an equalizer in their eventual 2-1 road loss at AZ Alkmaar on Sunday.
Richard Ledezma was not in uniform for PSV Eindhoven on Sunday as they went on the road to pull a 2-1 win at Sparta Rotterdam.