Canadian Exports: Simpson celebrates birthday with goal
Josh Simpson reignited his stalled account in Turkey by adding an injury-time insurance goal in Manisaspor’s 4-2 win over Bucaspor last weekend.
Simpson (pictured above) had started the season in red-hot form, seemingly scoring at will from the left side of midfield. In recent months, the Burnaby, B.C., native cooled down considerably, with his team also falling back to Earth after a torrid start that saw Manisaspor among the top clubs in the Süper Lig.
On Saturday, one day before his 28th birthday, Simpson put a stamp on a dominant performance from his team, notching his 12th league goal of the season (good for fifth on the league scoring table).
Over in Germany, two Canadians faced off in the final week of the 2.Bundesliga. Marcel de Jong (FC Augsburg) and Rob Friend (Hertha BSC) both took part in the season finale between the top two teams in the league, which served as little more than a promotion party for both clubs.
League champions Hertha BSC won the match 2-1, with striker Friend playing the final 25 minutes. De Jong played the entire game for Augsburg, who could have technically lost out on automatic promotion as they only had a three-point lead over third-placed VfL Wolfsburg heading into the match, but their overwhelming advantage in goal differential made it next to impossible.
Up a division in the Bundesliga, Kevin McKenna entered the match at the 75th minute as his FC Koln defeated visiting Schalke 2-1. McKenna was brought on to help preserve the lead, and picked up an 89th minute yellow card for his efforts.
Another Canadian involved in a huge late-season match was striker Tosaint Ricketts, who started and played 85 minutes in Romania for FC Politehnica Timişoara in their top-of-the-table clash with FC Otelul Galati on Sunday. Timişoara went into the match in second place, one point behind Otelul Galati.
Ricketts’ side could not pick up a favorable result on the road, however, falling 2-1 and handing the Romanian league title to Otelul Galati. With one match remaining, Timişoara will be fighting to remain in second to hold on to a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
In Danish Superliga action, Issey Nakajima-Farran played 77 minutes for AC Horsens in a 1-1 draw with Copenhagen on Monday. Nakajima-Farran was cautioned early in the second half.
Fellow Canuck in Denmark Patrice Bernier continues to struggle with injuries, exiting FC Nordsjælland’s 3-2 win over Silkeborg on Sunday after just 17 minutes of play. Bernier has had hamstring problems in recent weeks.
Elsewhere in Scandinavia, goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld and Vålerenga fell 3-1 to Fredrikstad. The loss drops Vålerenga to 13th in the Norwegian Tippeligaen after the seventh round of play.
Also in Norway, Chris Pozniak remained on the bench as his club Haugesund defeated hosts Rosenborg 1-0.
The other Canadians in Scandinavia, Mason Trafford and Luca Bellisomo, saw their club IFK Mariehamn lose 1-0 to TPS in the Finland’s Veikkausliiga on Monday. Trafford subbed in for the final hour of action, while Bellisomo was not dressed for the match.
Milan Borjan and FK Rad dropped a 2-1 decision to Crvena Zvezda on Sunday. After 27 games played, FK Rad are comfortably in fourth place on the Serbian SuperLiga table.
Another Canadian on the losing end this weekend was Daniel Imhof, who was pulled 61 minutes into FC St. Gallen’s 4-0 loss to visitors Luzern. St. Gallen are currently second from the bottom in the Swiss Super League.
Over in Holland, PSV Eindhoven closed out their Eredivisie season with a scoreless draw vs. Groningen. Midfielder Atiba Hutchinson played the full match and was yellow-carded in the 77th minute as PSV finished their campaign in third place.
In the English Premier League, David “Junior” Hoilett played 57 minutes for Blackburn Rovers on Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United. Blackburn are one point above the relegation zone heading into their final match next week.
Finally, 21-year-old Matt Lam was a late substitution for JEF United in Japan’s J-League 2, coming on in the 83rd minute of a 2-1 win over Okayama Fajiano on Sunday.