PREVIEW: WEEKEND FINNISH ACTION
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Thursday, September 9, 2010
The new Americans at IFK Mariehamn will hope to make their debut against TPS on Sunday while Greg Eckhardt and VPS travel to Haka on Saturday.

Haka - VPS

Greg Eckhardt and VPS return from the international break with a date against Haka at Tehtaan Kenttä Stadium in Valkeakoski.

Eckhardt will likely start in the VPS defense, much like he has done in the previous matches.

Fellow American Brian Pope is still sidelined with a shoulder injury and will not be available.

A strong finish to the season would be a nice remedy to the recent plagues experienced by the Vaasa club.

Last time out, VPS suffered a desultory home loss at the hands of Honka in a match that saw a clear lack of effort from some of the VPS players.

The hosts are struggling themselves sitting in 12th place, just a few points ahead of Mariehamn in the relegation playoff spot.

Korean striker Ik-Kyang Nam leads the team with four goals scored.

Tero Koskela and Antonio Inutile are both out with injuries and will be unavailable for VPS while Haka appear to have a full squad.

IFK Mariehamn - TPS

Lamar Neagl and Giuseppe Funicello will hope to make their Veikkausliiga debuts on Sunday and Mason Trafford will be likely to play his second league game when Mariehamn host TPS at Wiklöf Holding Arena in Mariehamn.

The three Americans arrived at the club over the international breaks and will hope to see some minutes for their new club.

Neagles arrives from the Charleston Battery of the USL-2 where helped lead the club to the league title.

Trafford is also coming off a USL-2 season where he played defender for the Real Maryland Monarchs.

Funicello has landed at Mariehamn from a different destination having spent this past season with Icelandic club Thor Akureyri. He will also hope to see some minutes in defense for the Swedish-speaking club from the Aland Islands.

They will have their hands full as TPS come into the match on a roll with wins in their last five matches having outscored their opponents in those matches 13-1.

Ina ddition to their solid league campaign, TPS are also in the final of the Finnish Cup to be played on September 25th versus HJK.

Petteri Forsell is out for the hosts while Mika Niskala is doubtful with a groin injury.

TPS are not reporting any major injuries.

Notes

Daniel Antunez is still out injured and will not take part in FC Inter's Monday contest versus JJK.
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A big question for U.S. fans heading into the World Cup is surely on Jozy Altidore and just what is plaguing the young striker at Sunderland.
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