KENYA BROWN - Thursday, April 2, 2015
April 4 will ring in the start of the new Allsvenskan season in Sweden with two Americans hoping to make an impact for their respective teams.
Malmo came away with the league title last season with a six-point edge over second place IFK Goteborg. The Blues became the first team since Djurgardens IF in 2003 to win back-to-back titles. This season could prove to be even closer as Goteborg, AIK Stockholm and a few other teams have their sights set on knocking Malmo off the top spot.
Finishing in second place is something that is hard to accept for Goteborg, especially as they only finished six points behind the league leaders. However, the 18-time league champions will come into this season even more determined to regain the crown that they last won in 2007.
The Blue-Whites were very busy making deals in the winter transfer window as they lost several players at the end of last season. They will be counting on their new signings to keep them competitive and in strong contention for the league up until the last day of the season.
Defender Heath Pearce will look to contribute to Goteborg's efforts this season. Having signed a five-month contract with the team in January, with an option to extend, the former Montreal Impact player's experience will come in handy in a back line that only allowed 34 goals last season - only behind Malmo, Elfsborg and Djurgardens.
Goteborg was not widely picked to win the league title last season by the experts, and they will probably not be among the favorites once again this season. However, if their new signings can gel with the players that have remained with the team well, they can certainly find themselves in the mix.
Finishing in ninth place in standings last season is not where Helsingborgs thought they would be, especially after winning the league title in 2011. But that is where they found themselves at the end of the season, ending it on a three-game losing streak and 39 points.
This season the Reds will try push themselves back up the ladder as they have overhauled the team from last season with the new recruits they believe that can make them more competitive.
Goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski will be one of the new players called into action. The 28-year-old, who was signed in the offseason from Angelholm will have his work cut out for him as he and the defenders in front of him will try to shape up a defense that allowed 44 goals last season.
The team had an up and down preseason and just qualified for the quarterfinals of the Swedish Cup where they ended up losing to Goteborg 2-0.
Helsingborgs will certainly have to raise their game if they want to be in the top half of the table this season.
In the Superettan a few Americans will be looking to help their teams make the push for promotion.
Goalkeeper Josh Wicks will be between the sticks as well as wear the captain's armband for AFC United. The team earned promotion to the second division last season and will be looking to make it two promotions in row.
Patrick Hopkins will look to help IK Sirius improve on their sixth place finish last season.
Angelholms FF will be looking to avoid another relegation battle this season and Eric Pothast will be hoping to contribute to their efforts.