Canadian Exports: McKenna scores to help Koln stay red-hot
There are few teams hotter in Europe right now than FC Köln in the 2.Bundesliga, and they have Canadian defender Kevin McKenna to thank for their continued streak after this past weekend.
McKenna opened the scoring in Köln's 2-0 win over Union Berlin on Sunday, heading home in the 18th minute to set the team on a winning course. The Billy Goats have now stretched their unbeaten run to 11 games dating back to November and are just barely on the outside looking in at promotion back to the Bundesliga, sitting in fourth place.
Right behind Köln are Rob Friend and 1860 Munich. On Sunday, Friend scored his first goal in three games since joining The Lions in January. The big man's goal leveled the score in their encounter with Eintracht Braunschweig and Munich went onto win the game 2-1 with a late winner.
Fellow Canadian Randy Edwini-Bonsu came off the bench in the 69th minute for Braunschweig as they slipped into second place behind Hertha Berlin.
At the bottom of the 2. Bundesliga standings, midfielder Julian de Guzman played his fourth game for Jahn Regensburg as they held Energie Cottbus to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, though they still remain last in the 18-team league.
While a number of Canadians are fighting to get into Germany’s top-flight, Marcel de Jong and Augsburg are fighting to save their Bundesliga lives. De Jong came off the bench in the 81st minute as they did a world of good to their survival chances with a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.
Augsburg vaulted ahead of their opponents into 16th place, out of the automatic relegation zone and into the relegation playoff spot, where they could potentially face the likes of Köln or 1860 Munich.
Further up the table, Olivier Occéan and Eintracht Frankfurt’s hold on fourth place and the final Champions League spot became ever more tenuous, as they battled to a scoreless draw with Freiburg that kept their opponents in fifth place, but still just three points behind. Occéan came on to start the second half in last Friday evening's game.
Over in England, as Queens Park Rangers have struggled, so has their Canadian-born winger Junior Hoilett. He made just his 16th league appearance of the season on Saturday when he came on in the 73rd minute in QPR’s 2-0 loss to Manchester United.
It was the first time in more than a month that Hoilett was even in the squad for a league game and QPR remain rooted to the Premier League basement with an abysmal 17 points in 27 games.
Down two levels, Iain Hume looks to have recovered from a calf injury and was back in the lineup for the first time on the weekend as Doncaster Rovers look to stay in the fight for promotion to the Championship.
Hume came off the bench in the 71st minute on Saturday as Doncaster tied Yeovil 1-1 and then got the start and lasted 70 minutes on Tuesday as Doncaster beat Shrewsbury Town 2-1 to move top of the league.
Also in League One, Marcus Haber and Stevenage were once in the picture for promotion, but they’ve been sliding away over the past few months.
Haber started and played 69 minutes on Saturday as Stevenage lost 2-1 to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday and came off the bench in the 59th minute as Stevenage lost 1-0 to Scunthorpe on Tuesday. The club's fourth and fifth consecutive losses saw them drop down to 15th place.
In Scotland, Andre Hainault got to make his Scottish Premier League debut following his January move across the Atlantic. The former Houston Dynamo defender came on as a 90th-minute substitute in Ross County’s 3-0 win over Motherwell on Saturday, with The Staggies up to fifth place with their fourth win in five games.
In the Netherlands, Atiba Hutchinson did not see the field for PSV Eindhoven owing to a red card in the previous week, and the team dropped a 2-1 result at Feyenoord. However, second-placed Ajax only managed to draw, meaning PSV stayed two points clear at the top of the Eredivisie.
Across the contient in Turkey, Milan Borjan and Sivasspor dropped into the bottom half of the table as they lost their second straight league game.
And for the second time in a row, Borjan conceded just once but only to get minimal offense from his teammates as Sivasspor lost 1-0 to Besiktas and fell down to 12th in the 18-team league.
In Portugal, midfielder Pedro Pacheco scored his second goal in as many games as his club Santa Clara beat UD Oliveirense 3-2 on Sunday.
It was Santa Clara’s second win in a row and it moved them into seventh place on 43 points. They’re seven points back of third-place Arouca, who hold down the second and final promotion spot. Sporting CP II hold second spot, but as a reserve side, can't be promoted to the top division.
In Uruguay, Lucas Cavallini got the Clausura season off to a rough start with club team Juventud de las Piedras. The man on loan from powerhouses Nacional played all 90 minutes on Sunday only for him and his team to drop a 4-0 result against visiting River Plate.