BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Friday, January 31, 2014
A pair of young American attackers are on display in the Eredivisie this weekend, as Aron Johannsson and AZ face Groningen while Juan Agudelo and Utrecht take on Ajax.
AZ - Groningen
AZ Alkmaar and their American striker Aron Johannsson look to get back to winning on Saturday when they take on Groningen.
Johannsson was part of a stymied AZ attack last Saturday against PSV. Although Johannsson and his teammates put more shots on net than the Eredivisie giants, they were unable to make anything of their opportunities, falling 1-0 last weekend.
Groningen are struggling to pick up points at the moment. The Green-White Army have won only one of their last six games in the league.
At the moment the two teams sit right next to each other in the Eredivisie standings, with Groningen at seventh place, one spot above of eighth place AZ.
After a lackluster December in which they lost four consecutive Eredivisie games, AZ have bounced back somewhat in January, rotating wins and losses this month.
Dutch international Dirk Marcellis is out with a long-term injury for AZ, while Groningen manger Erwin van de Looi is without a bevy of options. Goalkeeper Luciano and midfielder Nick van der Velden are out injured for Groningen, while young defender Hans Hateboer, who made his debut last weekend, is serving a red card suspension.
Utrecht - Ajax
Juan Agudelo figures to be included in FC Utrecht's squad as they take on Ajax on Sunday.
While Ajax have won all of their Eredivisie games since November 2nd, Utrecht have dropped their last four. Once towards the summit of the league, a rash of unfortunate injuries have sent Utrecht spiralling into the lower half of the standings.
After losing three of his top attacking options, Utrecht coach Jan Wouters snapped up Agudelo on loan from Stoke City to help right his teams wayward attack. Utrecht haven't scored more than two goals since November in the goal happy Dutch league.
Agudelo made his debut for Utrecht this weekend, and impressed. The young American put his pace on display, especially on an impressive run from midfield into the attacking area which amounted in a scoring opportunity, but the former MLS star skied his effort over the cross bar.
Ajax, who stumbled briefly out of the gates this year, have picked up the pace in the last few months. With 43 goals scored to only 17 allowed, Ajax not only have the most point in the Eredivisie, but also the greatest goal differential this season.
Utrecht are without Cedric van der Gun, Jacob Mulenga, Marcus Nilsson, Edouard Duplan, and Willem Janssen due to injury, while Kai Heerings is also out due to a red card suspension. Siem de Jong is the only Ajax player absent for Sunday's game.