DAVID SMITH - Friday, April 29, 2011
The third round of the 2011 Swedish Cup was drawn on Wednesday, setting up an early all-American battle when Alejandro Bedoya and Örebro square off against the Yanks at Ljungskile.
The third round marks the entrance of Allsvenskan teams to the competition, setting up a number of David vs. Goliath matches which offer a number of fringe players their only chances to take the field in meaningful competition.
Örebro SK's visit to Ljungskile will in all likelihood not be one such example, as only one division separates the two and both will be eager to make it to the latter stages of the competion.
The game should feature three Americans, with Alejandro Bedoya a fixture in Örebro's starting lineup, and both Nick Noble and Michael Thomas also occupying spots in Ljungskile's starting eleven.
Ljungskile will be looking to match their showing in the 2010 Cup which saw them eventually lose out to Gefle in the final 16, while Örebro will have their sights set higher after making it to the quarterfinals where they were embarrassed by Mjällby.
In their first game of the competition this year, Mjällby will be facing off against third-tier Vasalunds IF, which could give usual backup keeper Sam Petrone his chance to take up a spot between the posts for his new team.
The team advanced all the way to the semifinal of the 2010 edition, and will expect few problems to advance against the relative minnows.
While his performances against Swedish top-flight competition have been a mixed bag, Djurgårdens defender Gale Agbossoumonde should have his chance to shine against newly-promoted third-tier team IFK Luleå.
Djurgårdens were dumped at this stage of the Cup last season by Ljungskile and its stable of Americans, and will expect to avoid such embarrassment a second time.
Rounding out American participation is Halmstads visit to fourth-level Karlstads BK for a game which will see Ryan Miller hope to expand on his current substitute role.
The midweek games will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, May 11-12.
Swedish Cup third round draw
IFK Luleå - Djurgårdens IF
Vasalunds IF - Mjällby AIF
Ljungskile SK - Örebro SK
Karlstads BK - Halmstads BK