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Mark McKenzie impresses as Genk seals Champions League spot

Genk finished the Belgian Pro League regular season 20 points behind Club Brugge, but got the last laugh in Sunday’s playoff finale.

Mark McKenzie played 90 minutes for Genk in a 2-1 road victory over Club Brugge, sealing first place in the playoffs and an automatic berth into the final qualifying round of next season’s UEFA Champions League tournament. Ethan Horvath earned his first start in goal for Club Brugge since February, but was on the losing end as Brugge finished second behind Genk.

Bastien Toma and Cyriel Dessers both scored for Genk in the second half to help seal the win, with Dessers penalty kick proving to be the difference. McKenzie remained in John van den Brom’s starting lineup and impressed once again, delivering another positive glimpse of his ability in Europe.

The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback played 90 minutes, completing 90% of his passes, making five clearances, and five interceptions. McKenzie also won three of his five aerial battles and three of his five tackle attempts, helping Genk return to the Champions League next season.

McKenzie finished his domestic season with 13 combined appearances for Genk, winning the Belgian Cup earlier this year and now setting himself up for a UCL debut next Fall. He also earned Team of the Week honors for the second week in a row on Monday.

The former Philadelphia Union Homegrown will now prepare for upcoming international duty with the USMNT against Switzerland on May 30th. McKenzie will also be fighting for minutes in both the Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup later this summer.

Comments

  1. He had some hiccups early and then Genk switched formations to 2 CBs instead of 3. Lucky for Mark one of the Colombian CBs that weโ€™re starting got hurt and he started the last few. Cuesta, Lucumi, and McKenzie are all 22. Cuesta is supposed to play with Colombian NT this Summer so perhaps heโ€™ll move handing the starting spot to Mark. Interestingly Transfermkt rates Lucumi at 12 million to Cuesta 5.5 mil but Cuesta got called up Lucumi did not. Maybe theyโ€™ll rotate between WCQ and Copa America. I hope McKenzie gets a good run during GC.

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  2. Soooooo want this guy to step up. The skillset he has is perfect for the kind of game we’re trying to establish. Bummed Long went down, but McKenzie’s ceiling is higher…. this could force GB’s hand accelerating MM’s ascent into locking down the starting CB position next to Brooks…. w/ Richards nipping at his heels.

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