DAVID SMITH - Friday, January 27, 2012
Jozy Altidore will likely be limited to substitute action as AZ try to regain their lead atop the Eredivisie on their visit to Roda JC.
Roda JC - AZ Alkmaar
After losing his spot in the starting lineup to Charlison Benschop, Jozy Altidore will likely see time as a second-half substitute on Saturday night when Alkmaar take on Roda JC.
The pressure is on AZ heading into Saturday's game, with PSV Eindhoven's win on Friday night temporarily dropping them from first place in the standings for the first time in several months.
A win over Roda - who they beat by a narrow 1-0 score in late-October - would assure another week in first place, but the task won't be an easy one against a team which has lost only once in the last two-plus months.
Alkmaar are still smarting from their disappointing draw with Ajax last weekend, a game in which they led at the break but were forced to settle for the point after an own-goal from Simon Poulsen cost them dearly.
The defense will have to avoid mistakes as Roda have been scoring seemingly at will as of late, netting ten times in their last two games.
While AZ have done well to avoid the injury bug since the turn of the year, they will be hurt by the loss of starting midfielder Rasmus Elm to a suspension. In addition, new defender Mattias Johansson, who joined the team from Swedish team Kalmar FF during the current transfer window, will be out with a hamstring pull.
Roda are not reporting any absences to their available squad.
Charles Kazlauskas went the distance on Friday evening in Helmond's vital 1-0 road win over Fortuna Sittard.