BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, March 3, 2011
Oguchi Onyewu will hope to be fit enough to take the field when Twente host Earnie Stewart's NAC Breda on Saturday in Eredivisie action, while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport visit Volendam in a critical promotion race matchup.
FC Twente – NAC Breda
Though a muscle issue kept Gooch out of action during Twente's midweek victory over Utrecht in the KNVB Cup semifinals, the US international is expected to return to the lineup this weekend.
Coach Michel Preud'homme will likely be counting on Onyewu to once again start in the center of defense, after opting to leave him on the bench to rest against Utrecht.
The former Clemson Tiger will have his hands full with Ghanaian international Matthew Amoah who has led NAC in scoring for three consecutive seasons, and has 9 goals to his name so far in this campaign.
The defending champs currently sit in second place, three points behind PSV, so a victory is vital to keep the leaders within striking distance.
But the pressure is also coming from below as the Tukkers hold a mere two point advantage over third place Ajax, who are chasing the coveted second Champions League spot.
Twente has lost just once all year at home in De Grolsch Veste.
FC Volendam – Helmond Sport
With both teams looking to solidify their position in the promotion playoffs, Charles Kazlauskas and third place Helmond Sport will travel to the Kras Stadion this weekend to take on fourth place Volendam on Friday night.
Helmond Sport is currently two points ahead of their opponents in the standings, though Volendam will enter the game confidently having won the season's first matchup 2-0 away from home.
After a run of substitute appearances, Kaz returned to the starting lineup for last week's decisive victory over Sparta Rotterdam. Following such a comprehensive performance it would be surprising if Coach Jurgen Streppel made many changes to the lineup for this weekend.
If the Wisconsin native does suit up, he will likely be charged with helping to slow down the Volendam striking duo of Mevlin Platje and Jack Tuyp, who have combined for 45 goals.