RECAP: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
It was a rough weekend for Americans in Holland as Aron Johannsson and Charles Kazlauskas both saw their teams lose games in the second half.
FC Utrecht 2- 0 AZ Alkmaar
Talisman Aron Johannsson's played the whole 90 minutes for AZ, but failed to extend his goal scoring streak for the club, who fell to Utrecht on the road Sunday.
AZ appeared to be suffering a hangover from their midweek Europa League win in Athens. Johannsson was at the front of a spiritless AZ attack which generated little trouble for the Utrecht defense, putting only one shot on net throughout the entire 90 minutes.
After a sloppy first half for both teams, two second half Steven de Ridder goals secured the host's first win of the season. In the 54th minute, Dave Bulthius sent a cross through the penalty area which de Ridder needed just to poke home. The Belgian's second goal came 12 minutes later to make it 2-0. Tommy Oar slipped a pass through a sloppy offside trap to de Ridder, who was in free on net and rifled the ball into net to solidify the scoreline.
Johannsson did come close to pulling a goal back for the visitors, but after rounding Utrecht keeper Jeroen Verhoeven, the American forward could only put the ball against the side netting.
Referee Tom van Sichem was a busy man on the afternoon, handing out yellow cards to Roy Beerens and Nemanja Guelj for AZ as well as Mark van der Maarel, Jens Toornstra and Willem Jensen for Utrecht.
AZ are back home on Thursday, when they look to preserve their 3-1aggregate lead over Atromitos in a Europa League qualifier, while Utrecht are off until next Sunday, when they face PEC Zwolle on the road in Eredivisie action.
VVV Venlo 3 - 2 Helmond Sport
Charles Kazlauskas played the whole match at right back as VVV scored three second half goals to keep Helmond from getting their first win of the season.
The game was promising at the start for Helmond, as Marc Koot gave the visitors the lead in the fourth minute. VVV goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa misplayed a clearance, and the Helmond striker was able to capitalize with a right footed shot to open the scoring.
Helmond were unfortunate to give away the lead in the 47th minute. An Oguzhan Turk free kick bounced off of the Helmond wall, and then off defender Dave Nieskens into the net for an own goal.
Helmond responded positively after the goal, but VVV would grab the lead on a 75th minute counter attack. A silky pass from substitute Jeffrey Altheer put Uche Nwofor past Kazlauskas' backline, and the Nigerian finished past Wouter van der Steen to make it 2-1.
Helmond continued to press, but again Venlo were the next to score. Travis Cooper was left wide open inside the Helmond penalty area and was able to finish comfortably to make it 3-1 in the 85th minute.
Karim Bridji pulled Helmond back within a goal in the 87th minute with a shot from 20 yards out which found it's way into the bottom left corner, but it would not be enough for Helmond who surrendered a halftime lead for the third time in four games this season.
Helmond travel to face Achilles '29 next Friday while VVV will take on MVV Mastricht.