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Sam Vines, Royal Antwerp clinch first Belgian title since 1957


Sam Vines’ second season in the Belgian Pro League concluded with the former Colorado Rapids homegrown capturing his first trophy at club level.

Vines watched as Royal Antwerp tied Genk 2-2 on Sunday, claiming a first Pro League title since 1957. Although Royal Antwerp came into the final day sitting behind league-leaders Union St. Gilloise, Club Brugge’s 3-1 comeback victory over Union St. Gilloise helped clinch the title for Mark Van Bommel’s squad.

Royal Antwerp also captured the Belgian Cup earlier this season, sealing them a first domestic double by a Belgian first division side sincee 1999.

Vines, who missed most of the second half of the league campaign due to a tibia fracture, made 20 combined appearances this season. The 24-year-old also made four appearances for Antwerp’s B team following his injury recovery.

Bryan Heynen’s 75th minute goal boosted Genk in front 2-1 at home before Club Brugge eventually scored a trio of late goals to flip the script at Union St. Gilloise. However. Toby Alderweireld’s 94th minute equalizer tied things up for Royal Antwerp and moved them top of the table in stoppage time.

Fellow American defender Mark McKenzie logged his 40th combined appearance of the season for Genk, closing a stellar individual campaign for the USMNT defender. McKenzie set a new career-high with four goals for Genk.

Both Vines and McKenzie will be part of next season’s UEFA Champions League as Royal Antwerp and Genk finished No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the league table. It will be both of their tournament debuts.


  1. Bummed for McKenzie, Genk won the regular season but finished with just 8 pts in the six match playoffs. Antwerp with 11 pts. Because they halve the regular season pts Genk 3 pt lead shrunk to 2. So despite the clubs finished with the exact same record and Genk had a +8 GD advantage over Antwerp. Antwerp are champs by 1 pt. A few years ago Genk came from 4th to tie Brugge in the playoffs but got 2nd because Brugge had a better reg. season record.

    • I have seen absolutely zilch of the Belgian league…how has McKenzie been looking? Always thought he was strong, athletic and a really good 1-on-1 defender but he was not just short for a CB but also notably crappy in the air and his distribution out of the back flat scared me…he always seemed to mislay that one Oh-My-God-NOOOO!!!!-type pass at least once a game.

      Has he gotten over that? McKenzie without the random errant banana-peel passes would seem a useful player.

      • Haven’t really watched much this season either. Caught Reynolds vs McKenzie in the fall. I might watch a bit here or there if Genk is on in between Bundesliga or EPL, but not more than 20-30 minutes. So not enough to give you a good scout. He scored 4 goals in the last month of the season so he’s apparently figured out how to score with his head off set pieces. I don’t remember hearing about any big gaffes. His Fotmob, whoscored, SofaScore ratings are all pretty good for what those are worth.

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