Van Gaal says injured duo Depay and Berghuis unlikely to face Belgium on Sunday

By Sports Desk September 22, 2022

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal is doubtful that Memphis Depay and Steven Berghuis will be fit enough for Sunday's Nations League Group A4 decider against Belgium.

The Oranje cemented their position as group leaders on Thursday with a 2-0 win over Poland thanks to goals in each half from Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn.

That result means they only need to avoid defeat to Roberto Martinez's side to progress to the Finals next June.

Berghuis replaced the injured Teun Koopmeiners inside the opening five minutes at the PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, but the forward was later withdrawn for Kenneth Taylor, while Depay limped off in the 52nd minute to be replaced by Vincent Janssen.

Van Gaal had good news on Koopmeiners' condition, but the Netherlands boss was not optimistic about Depay and Begrhuis' chances of featuring against the Red Devils.

"I understand that Teun was already feeling a bit better, and I replaced Frenkie [de Jong] as a precaution. He had some tension on the muscles, but he expects to play, and he knows his own body," Van Gaal told NOS. 

"I don't think Memphis will play on Sunday and neither will Berghuis. It's a back injury and that usually lasts longer than a few days."

Gakpo, who was linked with a move to the Premier League during the transfer window, has started the season in fine form for PSV, scoring eight goals in seven Eredivisie games.

The 23-year-old continued his momentum on the international stage as well, stroking home his third goal for his country early on.

He played in a more central role than he is accustomed to at club level, and Van Gaal believes that is where his future might lay.

"I thought that Gakpo performed his duties well both in possession and out of possession," the head coach added.

"It was a good lesson for him and a good development. He wanted to play from the left, but for me, he has everything to become a good 10.

"He scored again, that's also important. It was a world-class goal. I jumped off the bench too. I don't normally do that. It was a top goal."

Related items

  • Philadelphia Union secure goalkeeper Andre Blake with contract extension Philadelphia Union secure goalkeeper Andre Blake with contract extension

     Philadelphia Union have officially announced the signing of a contract extension with their star goalkeeper, Andre Blake. The new deal keeps Blake with the club through 2026, with an option for 2027, further cementing his legacy as a cornerstone of the team's success.

    Blake, 33, stands out as the only player to have won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award three times. Additionally, he is a four-time MLS All-Star and a three-time MLS Best XI selection, accolades that underscore his exceptional talent and consistency.

    "Since joining the team, Andre has been a foundational piece to the club’s achievements," Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. "He has shown himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in North America, and along with his proven sporting value, has taken on a leadership role both on and off the field. His guidance will play an important role in the further development of our young players and the team’s success. We’re happy to have reached an agreement to keep him here in Philadelphia."

    Since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Blake has been a stalwart in goal for the Union, amassing 73 clean sheets in 236 matches. His stellar performances have been instrumental, particularly during the club’s 2020 campaign when they clinched the Supporters' Shield.

    Blake's influence extends beyond club soccer. As an integral part of the Jamaican national team, he has earned 75 caps and often serves as the team's captain. His leadership and skill have helped the Reggae Boyz reach two Concacaf Gold Cup finals.

    With Blake’s extension, Philadelphia Union fortify a veteran-heavy core as they aim for a seventh consecutive appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. His presence in goal not only enhances the team's defensive solidity but also provides a role model for younger players coming through the ranks.

    Blake’s commitment to the Union and his continued excellence between the posts signal a bright future for both the player and the club. As Philadelphia Union continue their pursuit of further silverware, having a player of Blake’s caliber and experience will undoubtedly be a significant advantage.

     

     

     

  • LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo: Vanney hoping home run can build momentum LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo: Vanney hoping home run can build momentum

    Greg Vanney is aiming to build some momentum for the LA Galaxy as they look to end a run of four draws against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

    The Galaxy are on a five-match winless run in MLS, with another goalless draw against Charlotte last weekend seeing them drop to fourth in the Western Conference.

    After a run of four away games in their previous five outings, LA are now due to play four of their next five at Dignity Health Sports Park, which is also where they got their last win.

    "This is a big phase for us to really build some momentum in all ways, being in front of our fans and being at home for this next stretch," said Vanney, as quoted in The Galactic Tribune.

    "Obviously, we've got to go on the road once more, but hopefully build on the momentum and get some points."

    Houston Dynamo have won just one of their last six MLS matches and dropped more points in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas last Saturday as they sit eighth in the West.

    Ben Olsen is upbeat about the Dynamo’s recent performances, though he admits they need to learn lessons from their recent results.

    "The reality is the performances aren't necessarily resembling the points that we're getting," he said.

    "We're actually in a nice rhythm of consistency. I know it's hard to say that when we're not maximising points, but the way we're going about the games is pretty good, and it's pretty consistent.

    "We'll keep working at it. That's all you can do. What else are you going to do, quit?"

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    LA Galaxy – Joseph Paintsil

    Paintsil has contributed to at least one goal in four straight home matches (two goals, three assists), including recording an assist in the last three.

    Only one Galaxy player in the last decade has recorded an assist in four straight home matches: Douglas Costa between June and August 2023.

    Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

    Amine Bassi scored his first goal of the season in Houston’s 1-1 draw with Dallas last weekend, becoming the ninth different Dynamo player to find the back of the net.

    However, only one player has netted more than a single goal for them this campaign, with Aliyu netting four.

    MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

    The Galaxy’s 0-0 draw with Charlotte on Saturday was their fourth consecutive draw and they’ve shared the points a joint-league high seven times this year. LA have drawn five consecutive regular-season matches only once before, doing so in May 2009.

    The Dynamo have lost only one of their last six away matches against the Galaxy dating back to 2017 (two wins, three draws). Houston have kept clean sheets in each of their last two visits, and the only team to keep three straight clean sheets at the Galaxy in MLS play is the Columbus Crew, who did so between 2004 and 2006.

    However, the Dynamo have alternated between wins and losses on the road this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Austin in their last away match. Houston have won four away matches in a single regular season just once since 2014, winning four times away from home in 2022, including at the Galaxy.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    LA Galaxy – 42.4%

    Draw – 25.6%

    Houston Dynamo – 32%

  • Vancouver boss Sartini not worried about reception for 'artist' Messi Vancouver boss Sartini not worried about reception for 'artist' Messi

    Vanni Sartini has no problem with Vancouver Whitecaps fans who wish to cheer Lionel Messi when Inter Miami visit BC Place on Saturday, but he wants his players to ignore the Argentine's presence and focus on themselves.

    Miami are currently leading the way in the Eastern Conference and the Supporters' Shield race, with last week's 1-0 win over D.C. United lifting them to 31 points from 15 games. 

    Messi has contributed 10 goals and nine assists in MLS play this year, and he is expected to feature in Canada despite sustaining a knock in a training session earlier this week.

    Supporters' desire to see the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner play has led to some bizarre atmospheres since he arrived in MLS, but Sartini will not tell Vancouver's fans who to applaud.

    "It's like going to the Louve and saying, 'don't cheer for the Mona Lisa'. Messi is an Opera artist," Sartini said in his pre-match press conference.

    "I'm going to be more excited to see David Beckham than Messi… it's a generational thing. I hope Beckham comes, even my wife will be more happy if Beckham comes!"

    Changing tone, Sartini said: "We cannot limit the danger of Messi and Luis Suarez. 

    "We must prevent the ball from being passed towards them and we need to be in the right state of mind. Let's forget about Messi and focus on our own performance."

    Vancouver currently occupy the final automatic playoff spot in the West, taking 19 points from their first 13 matches of 2024.

    Messi's Miami team-mate Robert Taylor believes the World Cup winner has made the rest of Gerardo Martino's squad better this year, saying: "Everyone knows what he

    brings on the field; he scores, he assists, he does amazing things on the field, he brings us results. 

    "Then in training, there's this energy around the team, he makes everyone better.

    "That's because of his personality, he wants to win every game – even in training – and I think that's been lifting everyone up a lot recently."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Vancouver Whitecaps – Ryan Gauld

    Gauld scored a stoppage-time penalty to earn Vancouver a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders last time out, and the Whitecaps' last five goals in MLS play have now been scored either by the Scot (two) or Brian White (three).

    Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

    Messi has failed to record a goal contribution on two successive starts for just the second time since joining Miami last year. 

    The last time Messi went three or more straight starts in league play without contributing to a goal was on his first four starts for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, between September and October 2021.

    MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

    Despite progressing in the Canadian Championship on away goals in midweek, the Whitecaps are winless in their last four matches across all competitions (one draw, three losses).

    Miami, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last nine, winning six and drawing three, though they were held to a goalless draw in their last road game against Orlando City.

    Messi missed that Florida derby, though, and the Herons have won their last seven league matches when he has been named in their starting lineup, boasting an overall record of 10 wins, two draws and one defeat in 13 league games with Messi starting.

    The Whitecaps, however, are unbeaten in their last nine regular-season games against Eastern Conference opponents dating back to the start of last season, winning four and drawing five.

    The only team from the East to win in Vancouver since the start of 2021 was the Chicago Fire in July 2022. With that in mind, a draw could be on the cards on Saturday.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Vancouver Whitecaps – 38.5% 

    Inter Miami – 31.7%

    Draw – 29.8%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.