American Exports: Gatt, Clark come out even in Norway
AMSTERDAM — A handful of Americans went to work in Europe on Monday, with Josh Gatt notching an assist as Norwegian champs Molde FK tentatively grabbed the perch with an exciting 1-1 Tippeligaen share at Steve Clark's Hønefoss.
It was an intense faceoff between Michigan natives, with each grabbing Man of the Match honors for his respective side. Gatt was a menace from the wing early and often over 86 minutes, with Clark allowing the hosts to rally for the draw with several fine stops.
The home netminder passed the test when Gatt fired sharply on goal after just six minutes, and then watched him narrowly miss with outstanding solo efforts in the 13th and 16th minutes. Clark then made a spectacular save on Magnus Stamnestrø, but before the half-hour arrived, Gatt raided the Hønefoss box off a long run to set up Davy Claude Angan for the opener.
Both Gatt and Angan soon went close again, but Rune Bolseth knotted the game for Hønefoss just before halftime. Clark then denied his compatriot on 54 minutes and robbed Angan past the hour to preserve the scoreline.
A minute before he departed the contest, Gatt's touch put Angan offside when he buried the rebound from another highlight-reel save from Clark. The point pocketed moved Molde ahead of Sunday combatants Strømsgodset by goal differential at the top of the table. Hønefoss, meanwhile, held place in sixth by extending their unbeaten run to four games.
Elsewhere in Norway, Ricardo Clark and Sean Cunningham celebrated a sorely needed duck-breaker as Stabæk finally enjoyed victory with 4-1 rout of visiting Lillestrøm.
Winless through 10 rounds, the hosts bagged four goals in the opening 19 minutes, with Clark good for a hockey assist on Fredrik Brustad's game-winner. Stabæk not only put an end to their nine-game losing streak, they also halted a 454-minute goal drought at home that dated back to last season.
Over in Sweden's second flight, Billy Schuler scored his first Hammarby goal in a 2-2 home draw with Falkenburg.
The forward gave Bajen their second lead of the game on 53 minutes, deftly curling over the keeper from just above the area after creeping in from left wing. Manager Gregg Berhalter's side, who also got a solid 90-minute shift from Baggio Husidic, leaked the equalizer nine minutes from time to slip into third place.