DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 16, 2013
Aron Johannsson will try to continue his scoring streak at Waalwijk while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond are still searching for their first win of the season in Doetinchem.
RKC Waalwijk - AZ Alkmaar
After hitting a penalty in each of AZ's first two games, Aron Johannsson will try to net his first of the season from the run of play on Saturday when AZ visit RKC Waalwijk.
AZ put on an impressive display last weekend, twice coming back from behind to beat reigning league champions Ajax in a rematch of their Dutch Super Cup meeting from several weeks before by a 3-2 score.
Just days before making his debut for the US national team, Johannsson netted his second goal of the season from the spot to pull the team even in the 67th minute, before Viktor Elm hit the winner with 15 minutes on the clock.
This was a marked improvement over their season-opening loss to Heerenveen, where the attack hardly clicked even when playing against ten men.
RKC Waalwijk, their opponents for this weekend, have been undefeated thus far in the new season, and are building momentum after their 4-2 defeat of Vitesse in their last outing.
The team did flirt with relegation last season and could be in for a hard crash at some point in the season, but have shown their best qualities on both side of the ball in their two games, having shut out Twente in a scoreless draw in their opener.
AZ sent midfielder Erik Falkenburg back to league rivals NEC on loan for the season. In addition, forward Denni Avdic is still recovering from an earlier injury and defender Dirk Marcellis is likely out with a knee problem.
Waalwijk is missing midfielder Imad Najah and forward Mart Lieder.
Helmond Sport - De Graafschap Doetinchem
Following two disappointing results, Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond need to score a win at home over De Graafschap on Friday evening to prevent falling too far behind the league's top teams.
Helmond were unfortunate to not come out of last weekend's home opener against FC Eindhoven with a draw, surrendering the winner to their opponents in the worst possible way when midfielder Juanito Sequeira put the ball into his own net midway through the second half.
While they did not play horribly, it is far short of their standard from last season when they flirted with promotion to the Eredivisie.
Through two games, they are still awaiting their first win, and will need to add that extra push to slay a De Graafschap team that looked strong in their 1-0 shut-out win over Almere City last weekend.
Neither team is reporting any absences.