Top Stories

Sam Vines shines as Royal Antwerp reaches UCL group stage


It had been close to 10 months since Sam Vines started a competitive match for Belgian side Royal Antwerp, but after getting the nod on Wednesday night in Athens, the former Colorado Rapids homegrown defender shined in a crucial result.

Vines logged 90 minutes as Royal Antwerp reached the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time after a 2-1 second leg victory over AEK Athens. Royal Antwerp advanced to the group stage following a 3-1 aggregate scoreline.

Gyrano Kerk’s 73rd minute goal boosted the Belgian hosts in front before Sergio Araujo made it 1-1 on the night ahead of second-half stoppage time. However, Michel Ange Balikwisha’s 95th minute winner helped Royal Antwerp capture a second-straight victory in European competition.

Vines was stellar in defense, winning all eight of his duels, completing all three of his tackles, and making one interception. The 24-year-old earned his first start since October 2022 and made his fifth overall appearance this year after a serious leg injury sidelined him for most of 2023.

Royal Antwerp will learn its group stage fate on Friday before visiting Union St. Gilloise on Sunday in Pro League action.


  1. Really good to see Vines back. Potentially work his way back into the USMNT. He isn’t going to give you what Jedi can give you in the way of raw athleticism, but Vine is a very good defender and does a good job picking his moments getting forward.


Leave a Comment