On March 10, Vitesse played at home for the first time since its Dutch Cup semifinal win over Sparta Rotterdam - a result that put the team into its first Cup final since 1990. Coincidentally, Vitesse's first opportunity to celebrate that achievement on its home ground was against the same opponent it had beaten in the Cup: Sparta Rotterdam.
The last match between these teams had been a relatively close encounter in Rotterdam that Vitesse edged, 2-1. The re-match was a blow-out. Vitesse was 3-0 up by half-time and had its fifth goal by the 61st minute. The 5-0 win was a welcome pick-me-up after a deflating road loss to PEC Zwolle had slightly taken the edge off the team's Cup run. With a couple of other results going the club's way in Saturday's Eredivisie's games, Vitesse is now guaranteed to head into its next league match as one of the top seven teams in the division. Next week's road trip to PSV will bring a sterner test than that offered by Sparta, but at least Vitesse has warmed up for the challenge with a win.
The big victory will be remembered by fans around the Netherlands as the game in which Arnold Kruiswijk scored his first-ever Eredivisie goal. It was the 32-year-old's 304th career match in the Dutch top flight, and that is apparently the longest stretch any player in the league has had to wait for a first goal (per de Gelderlander).
Vitesse fans sang Kruiswijk's name even after he had left the field in the 82nd minute, reports de Gelderlander. Perhaps one day they will sing about Matt Miazga too. The young American is still starting for Vitesse, with the man he replaced in the lineup - Maikel van der Werff - still recovering from injury. He hasn't scored in the league for the team yet, but he did pick up his second assist of the season on the fifth goal against Sparta, flicking on a corner for captain Guram Kashia to score.
The former New York Red Bulls Homegrown player, now on loan to Vitesse from Chelsea, appears to have cemented a place as an Eredivisie starter at the second attempt this season. When van der Werff returns to fitness that hypothesis will be tested more rigorously, but the last time Miazga got a string of starts in the league was the first time this season van der Werff got injured. And the Chelsea loanee lost his place in the lineup before van der Werff was back in the team.
This time around, Miazga seems to be retaining head coach Henk Fraser's confidence, at least for as long as the squad has a senior center back on the sidelines.