RECAP: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
The American pairing of Clay Goodson and Hunter Freeman helped Start shut out Sandefjord while Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek went on the road and snipped Odd in the first week of the 2010 Eliteserien.
Start 2 - 0 Sandefjord
The early returns were good for Clay Goodson and Hunter Freeman who helped Start secure its first three points of the season on Sunday versus Sandefjord at Sor Arena in Kristiansand.
Both Goodson and Freeman started in defense for head coach Knut Torum. Freeman would eventually be substituted off in the 82nd minute but not before registering an assist in the second Start goal.
There was some question as to whether or not Freeman would be healthy enough to play following offseason ankle injury but those doubts have beeen put to bed following the play of the native Texan in Sunday's match.
Start's first goal of the season did not even come from the foot of one of their own players as Sandefjord's Rune Hansen mistakenly lobbed a ball over his own goalkeeper to put the hosts ahead.
Hansen had tried the clear the ball from the area while Start's Ole Martin Arst battled him for possession but the defender's clearance went awry much to the enjoyment of the Sor Arena faithful.
Sandefjord attempted to tie the match up but were constantly rebuffed by Goodson and Freeman who showed that Start's defense may be one to reckon with this season.
Torum saw his squad double the margin in the 77th minute when Freeman collected a ball down the right side, faked one defender and swung a pass back towards the top of the area to Christer Kleiven who fired the shot home.
Kleiven was quick to show his appreciation to the former New York Red Bull who had served in the perfect pass as the rest of the Start squad mobbed Freeman knowing that the three points were secure.
A big test now awaits Freeman and Goodson who travel to Trondheim next weekend to take on defending league champions Rosenborg.
Odd 2 - 3 Stabaek
Mikkel Diskerud started and went the distance for Stabaek who claimed a thrilling victory over Odd at Skagerak Arena in Skien.
Stabaek head coach Jan Jonsson slotted in Diskerud on the right side of his midfield. Fellow American Erik Benjaminsen did not make the gameday roster for the visitors.
It was an inauspicious beginning for Diskerud and company as Odd charged ahead in the third minute when Magnus Myklebust gathered in Torjus Ekeli Hansén's pass down the left side, eluded one defender and rocketed home a shot into the side of the net.
But then ten minutes later Daniel Nannskog answered for Stabaek with some help from Diskerud.
Veigar Páll Gunnarsson crossed in a ball from the left side towards Diskerud who, at the last moment, jumped over the ball to deke the Odd defense and perfectly set up Nannskog who scored into the left corner of the net.
The visitors then raced ahead four minutes shy of halftime when Gunnarsson did well to collect a loose ball in front of the Odd net, chipped over to the far post to Johan Andersson who headed in the shot.
Odd responded in the 52nd minute courtesy of Morten Fevang who positioned himself perfectly on Jone Samuelsen's corner kick and easily headed the ball in for the equalizer.
Stabaek would eventually score the dramatic game-winner in the 89th minute when Pontus Farnerud bravely dished off a pass to second half substitute Espen Hoff who curled in a shot that glanced off the right post and into the goal.
Farnerud did well to split two Odd defenders and then pass to Hoff before being taken down on a hard tackle. The assist bought Hoff plenty of time to set up his shot which he buried much to the delight of the fans who had made the two hour drive from Baerum.
Diskerud and Stabaek return to action next weekend with their home opener versus Valerenga.
Goalkeeper Steve Clark watched from the bench as the backup during Honefoss' disappointing 2-0 loss to Tromso.