KENYA BROWN - Friday, October 31, 2014
Molde has won the league title with two rounds left but important games remain as Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg head to Odd, while Michael Stephens, Andrew Jacobson and Stabaek host Haugesund.
Odd - Rosenborg
After guaranteeing they will finish no lower than third place last week, the Troll Kids will now head to the Skagerak Arena to face second place Odd. Both sides have qualified for the Europa League next season, but where they finish at the end of the season is still undetermined as only four points separates them.
Rosenborg's form has been stellar over the past few weeks as they have won their past four games. They will no doubt be wondering how this form got away from them during the middle of the season when they were contending for the league title. However, after falling out of the top three for a few weeks, they have recovered quite nicely and will be determined to get win this weekend to boost their chances of capturing second place in the league.
With no other commitments, Rosenborg will certainly field a full strength side, and Diskerud will very likely take up his role in the starting lineup.
Odd is another team that has been playing well as of late. Having gone unbeaten in their past four games, the team also had their eyes on the league title. However, they dropped points in several games that kept them behind the leaders, Molde. Despite losing out on a chance for the league crown, Odd still has some unfinished business in the Norwegian Cup competition as they will face Molde in the final next month.
It may be a gamble, but Odd head coach Dag Fagermo may put out a full strength team for this game even though they still have a very good chance of winning some silverware.
Stabaek - Haugesund
In a game that does not mean much for either team, the Blue Ones will look to end their string of tie games as they welcome Haugesund to the Nadderud Stadium.
The side led by head coach Bob Bradley has gone unbeaten in their past four games, with their most recent games ending in ties. As there are only two games left, Stabaek will hope they can collect six points and count on the teams about them to falter so they can finish the season in sixth position. While they may have the advantage of playing at home. the team may find it a challenging time to claim the three points from Haugesund.
Stephens and Jacobson should take their usual roles in the starting lineup for Stabaek.
The visitors have been on a late season surge as of late with the side winning three games in a row - effectively guaranteeing their safety in the top division for next season. The biggest win of the three was a 2-1 win over Molde.
While their safety has been assured, Haugesund will still want to maintain their momentum and finish the season strong.
This weekend will be a big one for some teams in the first division as the race for the promotion playoff places remains alive. The biggest game for those keeping track of American players will be Rhett Bernstein and Mjondalen taking on Bobby Warshaw and Baerum. Depending on how things work out with other results, both teams could find themselves in the playoffs in the end.