Taylor Booth
photo: ANP / Imago

Dutch Playoff Recap: Booth, Utrecht Miss European Chance

2 minutes, 40 seconds Read

A penalty-shootout loss to Sparta ended Taylor Booth and Utrecht’s shot at European qualification, although the American ended a successful first season at the club with a strong substitute performance.

Sparta Rotterdam 0 – 1 FC Utrecht (pen. 5-4)

Following a 2-1 loss at home in Thursday, a game which Booth missed due to a slight injury, Utrecht needed to win on the road to keep their chances at earning a spot in the Europa Conference League alive.

While they did well to eventually come back to equalize on aggregate, with VAR helping them along the way, they failed at the final step, narrowly losing on penalties.

The hosts largely dominated the opening half, testing Utrecht keeper Vasilios Barkas on multiple occasions, however the Greek international denied the Sparta attackers each time, making three of his seven saves in the opening 45 minutes.

Booth entered the game for right winger Bart Ramselaar in the 54th minute, then seconds later Sparta thought they scored the goal that would have wrapped up the tie. However, the five-yard poke from Vito van Crooij was called back after a VAR review.

Injuries on both sides played a major hand in driving the tactical switches from the two coaches, with Utrecht starting right back Sean Klaiber forced out in the 68th minute, then Sparta central defender Mike Eerdhuijzen moments later with a knock. Additionally, each team saw another starter exit due to injury later in the game.

With time winding down on their season, Utrecht finally pulled even on agregate with ten minutes left in regulation. Can Bozdogan whipped a cross from the right flank towards the middle of the six-yard box, which Sander van de Streek headed on, just beyond the far post.

Team captain Nick Viergever had looped around into position, and put the ball away to the far side of goal, immediately setting the two teams on even terms.

Moments later, Booth volleyed a screaming shot from the right side of the area towards goal for his lone shot of the game, but Sparta keeper Nick Olij made a clutch, reflex save to deny the American what would have likely been the series winner.

The 30 minutes of overtime saw momentum swing both ways, albeit without any reward for either team, inevitably sending the game into a penalty shootout.

Both teams made their first three shots, with Booth successfully converting Utrecht’s second through a slow roller to the left side. However, each team missed one of the subsequent two, sending the shootout to the sixth, and ultimately deciding shot.

Shurandy Sambo converted his attempt for the hosts, however Mike van der Hoorn was denied by a fine, diving save from Olij, sending Sparta on to the next round.

Utrecht have just over two months until the 2023-24 Eredivisie season begins. Booth has been the subject of some rumors of a transfer during the summer, however will likely be more focused on his upcoming USMNT duty for the CONCACAF Nations League Finals in Las Vegas.

Follow Yanks Abroad on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn for news and views on Americans playing the beautiful game around the world and the U.S. national team.


David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: