RECAP: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Juan Agudelo's FC Utrecht debut highlighted a winless weekend for Americans in Holland.
Roda JC 1 - 0 FC Utrecht
Juan Agudelo made his debut for FC Utrecht on Saturday, coming on in the 58th minute of FC Utrecht's loss to Roda JC.
Despite early dominance by the visiting Utrecht, the hosts took the upper hand in the 34th minute. Vasil Skhurtaj slipped the ball through the Utrecht backline to winger Guus Hupperts, who finished past Utrecht keeper Robbin Ruiter to make it 1-0 Roda.
Utrecht resumed control over the game following the goal, but couldn't break through Roda's resolute defense. The visitors had trouble channeling their chances towards goal, as they saw eight of their 13 shots sail wide of the net.
Brought on with just a over a half hour left to play, Agudelo helped bolster the Utrecht attack. The former New England Revolution striker was able to create one chance for himself, but watched his shot go sailing over the crossbar.
Roda's focus was solely on defensing in the second half, and the strategy paid off as the home team picked up their first league win since October.
The loss was Utrecht's fourth consecutive in the Eredivisie, as they've spiraled from Champions League contention to eleventh place in the league.
The going get's tougher for Utrecht next weekend, when they host league leaders Ajax on Sunday, while Roda travel to PEC Zwolle on Saturday.
PSV 1 - 0 AZ
Aron Johannsson provided another active display for AZ on Saturday, but was unable to find the back of the net, as PSV walked away with a narrow victory at home.
AZ were slow to start, and they allowed the hosts a plethora of chances in the opening minutes. After extinguishing a few fires in their own area, AZ were forced to pay by a low drive by Jetro Willems. The 19 year-old Dutch international blistered a shot past AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado in the third minute to give PSV the early lead.
Johannsson almost answered for his team, but his effort off of a Johann Gudmonsson cross was stopped by PSV keeper Jeroen Zoet, who made six saves to pick up the clean sheet on the afternoon.
AZ continued to apply pressure to Zoet's net, but the PSV shot stopper was on point. A sluggish PSV backline allowed the visitors many opportunites to knot the score towards the end, but AZ failed to convert.
With twenty minutes left to play, Johannsson was able to beat his marker and fired a shot from an acute angle, but it wound up in the side netting. Shortly thereafter, AZ substitute Fernando Lewis's shot was cleared off of the goal line by PSV right back Santiago Arias, as the hosts found a way to hold onto their slight lead to the end.
Johannsson picked up his third yellow card of the season in the 77th minute, one of six handed out by referee Pol van Boeken on the day.
AZ return home next Saturday when they host Groningen, while PSV are on the road to RJC Waalwijk next weekend.
Eindhoven 0 - 0 Helmond Sport
Charles Kazlauskas played the full 90 minutes for Helmond Sport on Sunday in their derby match with FC Eindhoven. Five yellow cards were handed out in the physical match, in which Helmond were called for 21 fouls.
Kazlauskas deputized at left back for Helmond due to Gillan Justiana's absence. Typically a right back, Kazlauskas has now lined up every position on Helmond's back line this season, as well as spending a considerable amount of time at defensive midfielder.
FC Eindhoven controlled most of the possession in the first half, but were unable to take any of their opportunities in the first 45 minutes. Wouter van der Steen stood tall in the face of the early Eindhoven onslaught. The Helmond keeper made seven saves on the afternoon to collect his first shutout since October 7th.
The Red and White were able to apply more pressure to the Eindhoven defense in the second frame, forcing Eindhoven keeper Maik van den Kieboom to make two saves in the second half.
Kazlauskas had an opportunity to put Helmond ahead in the 90th minute, but the defender sent a shot sizzling just over the cross bar, as the game ended in a goalless tie.
Helmond are off until Friday when they host Excelsior, while Eindhoven face VVV Venlo the same day.
Dion Watson did not feature for Fortuna Sittard, as they lost at home to Den Bosch 2-1...