BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Friday, March 14, 2014
Aron Johannsson looks to continue his current brilliance against Twente this weekend, while Juan Agudelo is trying to crack back into the lineup for Utrecht.
Twente - AZ
After putting in two fine performances last week, Aron Johannsson leads AZ on the road against Twente on Sunday.
Johannsson scored two first-half goals last weekend and AZ went on to dismantle Heracles 4 - 0 before netting the only goal in AZ's midweek victory over Anzhi in the Europa League.
However, Twente provide a much stiffer test for Johannsson than Heracles porous defense. The Tukkers have allowed the second fewest goals in Eredivisie this year and already held Johannsson goalless in their December 7th matchup which Twente won 2-1.
Despite their great season to this point, Twente come into Sunday's game limping. After disappointing draws against Feyenoord and Utrecht, Twente fell on the road to promoted team Go Ahead Eagles last weekend.
Johannsson is third in the Eredivisie with 16 goals, and is in hot pursuit of US attacking partner and former AZ teammate Jozy Altidore's mark of 23 last year for the Alkmaar based team.
Jan Wuytens and Dirk Marcellis are both out injured for AZ, while Wout Brama and Togeir Borven are both hurt for the hosts. Also missing for Twente is former Inter striker Luc Castaiganos, who is serving a yellow card suspension.
NEC - Utrecht
Juan Agudelo hopes more minutes come his way this weekend when Utrecht travel to face NEC.
After making five straight starts following his arrival at the end of January, Agudelo has found minutes hard to come by in March.
The New York Red Bulls Academy product was an unused substitute in Utrecht's tie against Twente two weeks ago before coming off the bench in their loss to AZ last weekend.
Agudelo would be fortunate to see the field this weekend, as NEC are the worst defense in the Eredivisie by a wide margin, allowing 11 more goals than Roda JC, who have allowed the second most goals.
Utrecht come into the game in 14th place in the league with 30 points, just three clear of the relegation zone. NEC are in last place in the Eredivisie at the moment, but are only four points away from being clear of the relegation zone.
Jacob Mulenga, Eduoard Duplan, and Willem Janssen are all out injured for Utrecht Sunday, while NEC is missing Victor Palsson and Hans Mulder.
Helmond Sport - Fortuna Sittard
Charles Kazlauskas figures to play the full 90 again for Helmond Sport on Friday when they host Fortuna Sittard.
The 30-year old Kazlauskas is the only player on Helmond Sport's roster that has played every minute of their Eerste Divisie campaign thus far.
On the opposite sideline, 20-year old striker Dion Watson may make an appearance on the bench for Fortuna Sittard. The Florida native has made three substitute appearances for Sittard this season, and has been on the bench as recently as February 28th.
While Helmond's high-flying offense is amongst the top of the Eerste Divisie in goals scored, Sittard have hung their hat on the defensive end this season. Helmond are sixth in the league with 53 goals in 30 games while Sittard have allowed just 35 goals, third best in the league, in the goal-happy Eerste Divisie.
Neither team are reporting any absences for Friday's game.