Game Day Seven saw the usual Yanks in action in Belgium, with the exception of Sam Vines, who is still nursing an injury.
Eupen 1 – 3 Standard Liege
In this “Battle of the Yanks,” Gabriel Slonina and his Eupen side hosted Marlon Fossey and Standard Liege on Sunday afternoon. When the final whistle blew, les Rouches was three points the richer while the Pandas were left with nothing as they suffered back to back defeats. Both Americans went the distance for their respective teams.
The three goals from three different players took a bit of pressure off of the Standard head coach, Carl Hoefkens, with his team recording their first victory after seven tries. Two of the goals came in first half stoppage time, while the other found the back of the net in the second half. Slonina, on the other hand, made four saves while his team narrowly edged possession and were able to get a goal back late on.
In the 48th minute, Wilfried Kanga was the recipient of a sloppy pass of which he took advantage. The Ivorian born Frenchman shot from just outside of the box and placed it just inside the far post. The second came two minutes later, with Hayao Kawabe’s shot from inside the 18 yard box to double the lead before the intermission.
Cihan Çanak sent a cross into the box in the 74th minute and Kamal Sowah drilled it into the back of the net for his first goal of the season. Eupen did get one back, but it was too little, too late when Alfred Finnbogason found the back of the net.
Up next for Eupen is a weekend trip to Gent, while Standard Liege hosts Reynolds and Westerlo.
Westerlo 0 – 3 Antwerp
This one also should have been a Yank vs Yank clash in Westerlo on Friday night, but although Bryan Reynolds did put in an 81 minute shift, Sam Vines missed out due to a recurring injury that has kept him from taking to the field recently. For Westerlo, Griffin Yow was also left off the team sheet.
Vines was not really needed however as the Belgian champions had no problem coming away with a 3-0 victory and leaving Westerlo still win-less this season after seven games.
In fact, it only took the visitors 16 minutes to take the lead at Het Kuipje and the goal was a gift from their hosts. Keeper Nick Gillekens tried to play a lazy pass out of the back but Mandela Keita intercepted the pass, picked out Vincent Janssen and the Dutchman slotted it left footed into the back of the net from the center of the box.
Westerlo held their own for the remainder of the first half but in the 68th minute the Great Old were celebrating a two goal lead. It was Jelle Bataille who did the damage this time with no help from the hosts. His Albanian team mate, who had only just been on the field for four minutes, played a ball that split the defense that was inch perfect. The Belgian shot right footed from the left side of the box and tucked it just inside the far post for his first goal of the season.
If Westerlo had any aspirations of getting back into the game, that thought left their collective minds when the Albanian scored one himself in the 84th minute; his second of the season.
Next up will be a momentous game for the Belgian champions when they head to Spain and go up against Barcelona in Champions League action.
Sam Vines will miss out on this one, as he will with all of the other CL games because, according to head coach Marc van Bommel, he was mistakenly left off the CL roster.
After their Spanish adventure, Antwerp will return to Belgium and host owner John Textor’s Molenbeek.
Kortrijk’s newly acquired American winger Alex Mighten, who signed with the club on loan from Nottingham Forest earlier this month, started the game on the bench when they hosted Anderlecht. He did however come onto the field in the 93rd minute, not enough time to break a sweat, as the Kerels threw away three points in the 97th minute.
Still without a win this season, they’ll go again this weekend when they travel to “Little Chicago” to take on Sporting Charleroi.
Mark McKenzie was given the night off when Genk travelled to Brussels to take on Union St Gilloise. They didn’t need him as the Smurfs came away with a 2-0 victory. They’ll now go into European competition on a high and will look for three points at home when they host Fiorentina in the Conference League. After that, it’s back to league action on Sunday when they host Sint-Truiden.
Evan Rotundo wasn’t named to the team sheet for Jong Genk’s defeat at the hands of Zulte Waregem by a 4-2 scoreline. Up next for the youngsters is a trip to the coast to take on Oostende. Hopefully the American will take part.
Kahveh Zahiroleslam did not feature for Sint-Truiden when they hosted and defeated Mechelen by two goals to none at the Stayen. STVV will head to Genk on Sunday for a potential Yank vs Yank clash against Mark McKenzie.
Jorge Ruvalcaba went the distance for SLFC16 (Standard Liege II) against Oostende and were narrowly defeated by the Seasiders thanks to a first half goal. They’ll hope to get back to winning ways on Saturday evening when they head to the Venice of the North to take on Club Brugge II.