BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Saturday, February 15, 2014
Aron Johannsson and Juan Agudelo will wrestle for the headlines this weekend, as AZ and FC Utrecht face each other on Saturday.
AZ Alkmaar - FC Utrecht
In a highly anticipated dual between young American guns, Juan Agudelo leads FC Utrecht on the road to take on Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar this Saturday.
Life in Holland has been good to both Agudelo and Johannsson this season, though Agudelo just made his debut for Utrecht on January 25th.
Agudelo has impressed for Utrecht, picking up a goal and assist in four games, while generating a slew of opportunities both for himself and his teammates.
Johannsson has enjoyed a dream season filling in Jozy Altidore's shoes at AZ. In addition to bursting onto the USMNT over the last few months, Johannsson has soared towards the top of the Eredivisie in scoring.
The energetic American has banged in a third best 13 goals in the Eredivisie this season, while he leads all scorers with six goals in the KNVB Cup.
Currently in 14th place, Utrecht are hovering three points above the relegation zone at the moment while AZ have endured ups-and-downs this year, but still find themselves in seventh place, which would put them in the Europa League play-offs.
Cedric van der Gun, Jacob Mulenga, Edouard Duplan, Willem Janssen, Kai Heerings, and Johan Martensson are all missing for Utrecht this weekend, while Dutch international is out of duty for AZ all year with a knee injury.
Helmond Sport - FC Oss
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport look to bounce back from a bad loss last weekend when they take on lowly FC Oss Friday.
Helmond, who qualified for, but lost in the Eredivisie promotion play-offs last year, have been unable to find their feet all season.
Despite their inconsistencies, they're still within eight points of qualifying for the promotion play-offs, but they have only eight games in which to bridge that gap.
Kazlauskas has been a bright spot for Helmond this year. Although part of a defensive corps that has allowed the third most goals in the league this year, Kazlauskas has been key for Helmond.
After replacing Eric Meijers in September, new Helmond coach Mario Verlijsdonk has slotted Kazlauskas into five different positions, and the American has been on the field for every minute in each of Helmond's games this year.
FC Oss come into Friday's game with an even worse defense than Helmond this year. Oss, the 19th place team in the Eerste Divisie, have allowed a second-worst 55 goals in 26 games this year, while Helmond have allowed 53.
While Helmond's 48 goals are good for fourth most in the league, Oss have scored the fewest with only 27 in the Eerste Divisie.
Neither team are reportings any injuries for Friday's contest.
Fortuna Sittard's Dion Watson will hope to feature against Achilles this weekend.