BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, July 13, 2012
The Danish Superliga season opens this weekend with four Americans set to take part including Michael Parkhurst and defending champion Nordsjaelland.
Sonderjyske - Randers
Fresh on the heels of earning promotion, Randers FC will look to get their Superliga season off on the right foot when they visit Sonderjyske on Saturday.
Charlie Davies only signed with Randers last Friday, but is expected to at least make the bench.
Conor O'Brien was an important part of Sonderjyske's success last season and the Long Island native should start in his usual central midfield position in the game.
Last season Sonderjyske was expected to be relegation fodder, but they remained in contention for a Europa League spot until the season's final weeks. Despite having one of the smallest budget's in the league, they finished in sixth place with 44 points through 33 games.
During the preseason Sonderjyske have looked impressive and expectations have risen that they can compete for a top four finish.
Randers was relegated out of the Superliga in 2011 but they returned to the top flight just one year later with a second place finish in the First Division. Now they will be looking to become a mainstay in the league
Randers will be without injured Icelandic midfielder Theodor Bjarnason while Sonderjyske are without Michael Christensen who is out with illness.
Brondby - Odense BK
Last season Brondby were a disappointment in the Superliga but they will be aiming to put that behind them when they host Odense BK on Sunday.
Clarence Goodson is Brondby's captain and is expected to start in his usual central defense.
Despite being expected to finish in the top four, Brondby are coming off a ninth place in the 12 team league. They also finished the season poorly losing their last four games.
In the preseason they have been sharp winning all three of their games with the most recent coming against Koge who were relegated our of the Superliga last year.
Brondby will be without injured forwards Dennis Rommedahl and Martin Bernburg.
Odense will only be missing injured midfielder Kalilou Traoré.
Horsens - Nordsjaelland
The last time Nordsjaelland faced Horsens in May, it was the most memorable game in the club's history as a 3-0 win clinched them their first ever Superliga title. Less than two months later, Nordsjaelland will hope have a successful first step in their defense of the title.
Michael Parkhurst was a regular starter at right back for Nordsjaelland, but he could be moved back to his natural central defense after a series of offseason moves.
Last season was a season for the ages for Nordsjaelland who never finished higher than sixth place in the Superliga in their history. Through a strong defense, they were able to remain in contention in the first half of the season and were able to take advantage in the final months as FC Copenhagen stumbled.
There are already warning signs for Nordsjaelland as they prepare to begin the new season as they lost all three preseason friendlies. On Sunday, they lost their final preseason match against Dutch club Twente 2-1.
Horsens last season finished in fourth place in the Superliga and earned a spot in the qualifying rounds of the 2012/13 Europa League. This season they are aiming for another top four finish.
Nordsjaelland will not have midfielder Enock Adu who is sick.
Horsens' Bosnian forward Kenan Hajdarevic is injured and will not play. Likewise, midfielder Martin Retov is also out with an injury.