Mark McKenzie
photo: Imago / Johan Eyckens

Belgian Recap: McKenzie, Genk Win Again to Stay in Top Spot

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Of the three Yank starters over the weekend, only McKenzie picked up all the points while Reynolds and Fossey had to settle for one apiece with their respective teams in Belgian Pro League action.

Gent 2 – 3 Genk

It was a game of many goals at the  Ghelamco Arena on Sunday evening as the league leading Smurfs recovered from an early Gent goal to take the precious three points against the Buffaloes of Gent.  Mark McKenzie, as usual, took up his central defensive position as he put in another 90 minute shift.

After nine minutes the hosts were celebrating their lead after Hong Hyun-Seok was set up by Cuypers to bury the ball into the back of the Genk net. Just another 14 minutes passed before Patrik Hrošovský spotted Joseph Paintsil’s run, sent the ball forward and watched the attacker take control and round the Gent keeper to tie things up. And although the visitors took control of the game for the remainder of the half, they could not make their dominance count before the intermission.

The Buffaloes returned to the field with a goal on their collective minds and had two half decent chances in the first few minutes that came to nothing. Then at the other end it was Paintsil who looked to score again but the man from Ghana missed the target. After a couple of substitutions, Mike Tresor sent a cross into box and found the head of Yira Sor, who nodded it in for his second goal of the season, having just signed with the team last month.

Toluwalase Arokodare, who also came on as a substitute, found Genk’s third goal to put the Smurfs out of reach, although Gent did try to claim some points but all they could muster was another goal in the 88th minute which proved to be too little, too late.

Still holding on to the top spot in the league, Genk will host third place Antwerp on Sunday afternoon.

Eupen 1 – 1 Westerlo

Bryan Reynolds went the distance for Westerlo and although he made the bench, Griffin Yow was an unused substitute in Westerlo’s stalemate against Eupen in the German speaking part of Belgium. 

Westerlo dominated in every aspect of the game and their efforts paid off just before the half time whistle when Nene Dorgeles broke the deadlock in the 44th minute after the cocky defense made one poor pass too many and the Mali midfielder pounced, pinched the ball and easily beat the oncoming keeper.

In the second half the visitors looked the better team against Eupen, who are fighting for their Pro League survival. Unfortunately for Westerlo the goal that denied them two points came from the spot after Nathan Bitumazala was brought down in the box. Stef Peeters did the honors for the 68th minute equalizer.

Westerlo will host Gent over the weekend and hope to move closer to a top group playoff spot as time and games are running out.

Cercle Brugge 1 – 1 Standard Liege

Marlon Fossey and les Rouches had to settle for a point on the road after they thought that they had won the game with a very late penalty but the hosts struck back in stoppage time to claim their point and stay in touching distance of the second play-off group.  The American went the distance for Standard. Fossey’s team however lost a couple of valuable points in their pursuit of a top four finish.

The game saw very few chances so when Philip Zinckernagel scored from the penalty spot in the 81st minute, the Liege fans probably thought that the three points had been won. But the game isn’t over until the final whistle and in the 91st minute the only whistle heard was that of the home fans after Ayase Uda scored from nine yards out from a thrown in that Boris Popovic assisted on. It was the Japanese attacker’s 10th goal of the season.

Les Rouches will look to do better in their next contest when they Kortrijk, who are just a couple of points from the drop zone.


Teen Evan Rotundo got the nod for the Genk Reserves and played the entire game has the second division side shared the points with a Tyler Wolff-less Beveren side with the American returned to Atlanta after his loan spell.  The game ended 2-2, leaving the young Genk boys in 11th place.  Up next will be a bus trip to take on Excelsior Virton. 

Third place Royal Antwerp, still without injured Sam Vines, played to a scoreless draw against fourth place Club Brugge.  The contest was evenly matched throughout with Antwerp just edging out their opponents for possession.  Next up for the Vines-less team will be a road trip to Genk to take on McKenzie and company.

Jorge Hernandez didn’t make the bench as Mechelen hosted Sporting Charleroi and let the Walloons leave Achter de Kazerne with a point after the Kakkers blew a 2-0 half time lead.  The score, obviously ended 2-2.  Hopefully with their American on the team sheet, Mechelen will head to Eupen over the coming weekend.

Mauricio Cuevas came on in the 93rd minute to play a few seconds in Club Brugge II’s win over Virton.  The contest ended 1-0 in favor of the fourth place team.  They’ll next go up against the Standard Liege Reserves on Saturday night. 


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, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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