Mark McKenzie has not been in Belgium very long, but he showed enough in his short time to earn a start in a battle of the top two teams in the Jupiler League.
McKenzie made his first appearance and start since making his recent move across the pond in Sunday’s showdown between Genk and Belgian league leaders Club Brugge. McKenzie went the distance as the left centerback in Genk’s three-man defensive line. Ultimately, McKenzie and Genk suffered a 3-2 loss that left Genk 12 points behind Club Brugge.
The 21-year-old defender and Genk trailed after just seven minutes at the Jan Breydelstadion, but fired back to take a 2-1 lead before halftime. McKenzie’s squad could not hold onto that advantage, however, conceding twice in a 12-minute span midway through the second half to become Club Brugge’s latest victim.
McKenzie, who transferred to Genk from the Philadelphia Union earlier this month, was not the only American in uniform in the heavyweight clash. Club Brugge goalkeeper Ethan Horvath dressed for the match, remains the back-up to veteran starter Simon Mignolet.
The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback’s next chance to feature at the club level will come on Wednesday. Genk welcomes 10th-placed side Zulte-Waregem that day in a match that could mark McKenzie’s home debut.