American Exports: Parkhurst claims title in Denmark
AMSTERDAM – A couple of American exports celebrated European milestones on Wednesday, highlighted by Michael Parkhurst and FC Nordsjælland securing their first Danish Superliga crown with a 3-0 defeat of closing day guests AC Horsens.
The backline nomad shifted to right back for the clincher, going the distance. The Wild Tigers won thanks to a goal on the stroke of halftime from Mikkel Beckmann and a pair of counterattack strikes in the waning moments. The result placed FCN two points ahead of FC Copenhagen to snap the Danish power's string of three straight titles and claim a Champions League group-stage berth.
The league title is also the first in the professional career of Parkhurst, a three-time MLS Cup runner-up. He becomes the second American to win it all in Denmark, joining current Chivas USA defender Danny Califf, who celebrated the championship with Aalborg BK in 2008.
Around the league, Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE enjoyed getaway day to the fullest, romping past Aalborg by a 5-0 count. The home side halted a five-game win drought to end up sixth, their best ever finish in the top flight.
Brøndby skipper Clarence Goodson left with a knock in the 50th minute as the visitors dropped a 1-0 derby decision at Lyngby. The Lads from the Western Outskirts lost their last four games to end the season in ninth place.
HB Koge defender Brad Rusin was removed at halftime as the Swans said farewell to Superliga life with a 1-1 comeback draw against Odense BK.
In nearby Sweden, Djurgården attacker Brian Span punctuated his maiden Allsvenskan start with the late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at defending champs Helsingborg.
The 20-year-old nodded home his first pro goal with a quarter-hour left on the clock, then departed four minutes later. His strike allowed Djurgården to nudge up to 11th place with their sixth consecutive draw by the same scoreline.
Next door in Norway, Ricardo Clark and Sean Cunningham worked all 90 as Stabæk lost for the ninth straight time, 1-0 at Viking. The latter saw yellow in stoppage time, mere moments after Vidar Nisja scored for the visitors to claim smash-and-grab victory.