The fields of play across the Belgian Pro League’s opening weekend were lacking Americans as only one of the seven saw any action.  Read along to see how the Yanks’ teams fared in the league’s curtain openers.

Mechelen 0 – 2 Antwerp

Sam Vines was the only American to start for his Belgian club this opening weekend of the Pro League and the Great Old came away with a 2-0 road win thanks to a brace by their Swiss striker, Michael Frey.  Newly signed Jorge Hernandez didn’t make the game-day roster for his Kakkers however.

To be fair to both teams, they both didn’t look to be performing at a high level but this being the first game of the season that was to be expected.  KVM dominated possession but couldn’t do much with the ball when they had it.  They only managed three shots with just one on target but not very threatening to Jean Butez between the Antwerp sticks.  The visitors, on the other hand, managed to put half of their 10 on target.

Frey’s first goal came just after the half-hour mark.  Former Tottenham Hot Spur Toby Alderweireld set up the frontman who juked a couple of defenders and struck it into the top corner.  His second goal came minutes later, this time from the penalty spot.

The win leaves Antwerp in a five-way tie for second place although they will look to open up the gap this coming weekend when they host Zulte-Waregem.  Before that, however, they’ll have Drita to contend with in midweek.  There’s all to play for as the home leg of the tie ended 0-0 against the Kosovars.

Notes

Both Owen Otasowie and Mark McKenzie stayed rooted to their respective benches when defending champions Club Brugge hosted Gent on Sunday afternoon.  The champs went behind 1-2 but fought back for a 3-2 victory with a 92’ goal by Andrea Skov Olsen.

Next up for Club is a long drive to Eupen over the weekend.  The team in the German-speaking part of Belgium lost their opener on the road to Sporting Charleroi.  Genk will host Standard Liege who drew their opener.

Kyle Duncan was a no-show when KV Oostende traveled to Brussels to take on Anderlecht.  They perhaps could have used him because les Mauves scored in both halves and sent the Seasiders home with no points in the bag after the 2-0 win.

Oostende will host Mechelen this coming weekend and hopefully, Duncan and Hernandez will make an appearance for their respective teams.

Bryan Reynolds made the Westerlo bench but never got onto the field as the newcomers to the top flight came away victorious, 2-0 against Brugge’s other team – Cercle.  Griffin Yow wasn’t as lucky since he wasn’t named on the Westerlo team sheet. 

Up next for the two Americans is a road trip to take on OH Leuven on Saturday afternoon.

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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