Luca de la Torre was the only American in action in Dutch Eredivisie action this weekend, putting in a solid shift for Heracles in an otherwise difficult outing for the team.
PSV Eindhoven 3 – 1 Heracles Almelo
Luca de la Torre continued his push for inclusion in the upcoming World Cup qualifying squad, putting in one of his team’s better performances in a difficult loss to Eredivisie powerhouse PSV Eindhoven.
The American midfielder played the full 90 minutes for Heracles, with 53 total touches, an 80% completion rate on his 29 attempted passes and 7 out of 12 duels won.
Richard Ledezma was not in uniform for the hosts, as he is currently out with a minor injury setback.
PSV dominated the game from start to finish, holding close to 70% of possession and outshooting their visitors by a 24-5 margin. They effectively put the game on ice with their opener midway through the first half, and secured the victory after the break despite a short fight-back from Heracles.
Joey Veerman scored the opener in the 20th minute, running onto a short lay-off from Noni Madueke at the edge of the area and striking his shot past the keeper to the lower right corner for 1-0.
Eran Zahavi followed up ten minutes after halftime; after de la Torre was dispossessed in his own territory, Madueke tried to create magic in the penalty area but lost the ball, only to have Zahavi recover and strike a sweeping shot to the right side for the two-goal lead.
The visitors momentarily cut the lead to a single goal after Samuel Armenteros headed in a cross from Emil Hansson in the 69th minute, however Cody Gakpo restored the two-goal lead moments later.
Mario Götze did the hard work to advance into the right side of the Heracles area and raw the defense and keeper his way, before hitting Gakpo in the middle for an easy tap-in for the final 3-1 score.
Heracles drop one spot to 12th with the result, and will be back on the field on Sunday when they host Vitesse Arnhem. PSV remain in second, and next host Copenhagen on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa Conference League Round of 16 knockout.
Cole Bassett was an unused substitute for Feyenoord on Saturday as they fought back to earn a point at home in a 1-1 draw against FC Groningen.