MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, September 4, 2012
FC Nordsjaelland's Michael Parkhurst is enjoying life as he also prepares for Champions League action where his Danish team will find themselves in action against Chelsea, Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk.
"There are some great teams there in our group," the Rhode Island native told Yanks Abroad after his game against Brondby and fellow American, Clarence Goodson. "We knew (the group) was going to be tough no matter who we drew."
"There are two league champions [in the group] and the champions of the Champions League. We've got our work cut out for us."
Being the Danish team's first ever Champions League appearance where they automatically qualified as Danish champions, Parkhurst is taking a realistic approach to the upcoming games against some of Europe's best teams.
"We were always going to be the underdog no matter who we faced in that regard. We'll just prepare as well as we can and go out there and hold our own and get a couple results. We're not just going out there for a joy ride."
The team that plays their home games at Farum Park, just north of the Danish capital of Copenhagen will be looking to pack in as fans as possible when they leave home to play their Champions League games at Parken, the home of FC Copenhagen. This will more than triple the attendance with Farum Park holding just over 10,000 fans while the Copenhagen venue can accommodate 38,000.
"[The Champions League] is the biggest stage in Europe so I just want to play well and for the team to play well," the former New England Revolution star said. "It's a big opportunity for everybody."
"For us, I think the goal would be to finish third and to progress [into the Europa League]. Realistically we want to progress in some way. It'll be really really difficult to finish second but we'll see. We'll try to beat out Shakhtar and finish third but you never know so we'll just have to wait and see."
In the meantime the defender and his team will try to keep their focus also in the Superliga and defend their title, although they could only manage a 0-0 result against Brondby on Sunday afternoon.
"It was not the result we expected. We expect three points every time we play on our home field so it was a disappointment."
Although the team started the season well, they have hit a few bumps along the way but scoring goals had not been one of them.
"We just couldn't finish today. It wasn't our day. We dominated the game completely. They came here for a draw and credit to them for getting that but we just weren't good enough in the final third. There were a couple of missed crosses, a couple of missed finishes but that's how it goes sometimes."
After Parkhurst returns to Denmark, he'll be heading back down to Copenhagen for one of the biggest games on the Superliga calendar where they'll take on FC Copenhagen.