Canadian Exports: Hirschfeld returns with clean sheet
Canadian national team goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld returned from Canada’s disappointing Gold Cup campaign to play 90 minutes in his club Vålerenga’s 2-0 triumph over Sarpsborg 08 this past weekend. It was Hirschfeld's and Vålerenga’s second straight shutout victory, and the club are now in 11th in the Tippelagaen.
Also in the Norwegian top flight, former Toronto FC and Chivas USA defender Chris Pozniak started at right back for Haugesund in their 1-0 home win over IK Start. Surging Haugesund have won four of their last five matches and are currently in sixth place, just six points behind league leaders Molde.
Over in Finland, Striker Riley O’Neill opened his goal-scoring account for MyPa in impressive fashion on Sunday, scoring a hat-trick to lead his side to a 5-1 victory over Jaro in the Veikkausliiga.
Remarkably, O’Neill only entered the match with 15 minutes remaining and went on to score in the 87th and 89th minutes before tallying once more deep into stoppage time.
The 25-year-old Vancouver native joined the club in the preseason and featured in the 2011 opener in May before suffering an injury that kept him out of the lineup for the next several matches. He rejoined the squad last weekend as a late substitution, and on Thursday he subbed in with six minutes left in MyPa’s 1-0 victory over VPS.
Also playing in that match was Tomer Chencinski, who went 90 minutes in goal for VPS in the loss. On Sunday, Chencinski and VPS were in action again, earning a 1-1 draw at RoPS to climb out of the Veikkausliiga basement.
Elsewhere in Finland, IFK Mariehamn also played a pair of matches on Thursday and Sunday, with Canucks Mason Trafford and Luca Bellisomo having an impact in the first of the two games. In the midweek fixture, in which IFK fell 2-1 to hosts JJK, Trafford was in the starting lineup before getting ejected just before the hour mark. Bellisomo subbed in a few minutes later as Mariehamn looked to reorganize following the red card.
On Sunday, Trafford served his red card suspension while Bellisomo, who watched the entire match from the bench, saw his club defeat Honka 1-0 at home, leapfrogging their opponents to climb to fifth in the league table.
Moving down a division, former Vancouver Whitecaps forward Randy Edwini-Bonsu also got himself on the score sheet for the first time for his club, AC Oulu, scoring a pair of goals to lead the side to a 2-1 win over F.C. Viikingit. The victory put Oulu into a tie at the top of the Ykkönen, the Finnish second tier.
Next door in Sweden, Kenny Stamatopoulos was once again in goal for AIK, although this time in a losing effort as his side dropped a 2-0 road match to GAIS on Sunday.
Finally, the newest Canadian Export was confirmed on Monday, with 21-year-old midfielder Igor Pisanjuk signing with Kecskeméti TE of the Hungarian first division. Pisanjuk joins Kecskeméti from Canadian Soccer League side Mississauga Eagles FC.