PREVIEW: MIDWEEK NORWEGIAN CUP ACTION
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DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Steve Clark will have the chance to test his wits against fellow American Mikkel Diskerud when Hønefoss host Stabaek as the third round of the Norwegian Cup takes place on Wednesday evening.

Hønefoss BK - Stabaek IF

Hønefoss American keeper Steve Clark will need to be on his toes as his Adeccoligaen team faces off against Mikkel Diskerud and top-flight Stabaek on Wedneday.

Only one American will come out standing after Wednesday's game, and second-tier Hønefoss will be gunning for what looks to be a very realistic upset over their Tippeligaen counterparts.

While surging to third place in Norway's top flight, Stabaek have been anything but world-beaters, with an embarrassing league's-worst 18 goals conceded having them look vulnerable to opposing teams even after when they are holding a large advantage.

One division below, Clark and his Hønefoss teammates have quietly been one of the best defensive teams in the Adeccoligaen, only giving up five through seven games, the second best rate in the league.

Unfortunately their scoring touch has abandoned them, as a paltry seven goals scored in the same span has them languishing in tenth place, however holding homefield advantage against a Stabaek team which has twice had serious problems with lower league opposition in the first two rounds of the cup this season will certainly give them hope of scoring an upset.

Neither team is reporting any absences to their squads for the game.

Mjøndalen IF - Strømsgodset IF

Having successfully returned from a thigh injury, Kyle Helton could again feature for Mjøndalen on Wednesday when the team hosts Strømsgodset IF in their third-round game.

Helton's American teammate Rhett Bernstein is expected to be out for the entire season with a severe knee injury.

Mjøndalen are on a bit of a roll heading into their matchup with the Tippeligaen's second-place team, with an undefeated run in their last six league games taking them to fourth place in the Adeccoligaen.

This still might not be enough to hold off a strong Strømsgodset team, who will certainly be pushing full strength to defend the Norwegian Cup which they lifted as champions of the competition in 2010.

Helton made his return from injury over the weekend, logging 26 minutes in a substitute role for the team in their draw at Asker, putting the defender in contention to see substantial minutes on Wednesday night.

Aside from Bernstein, Mjøndalen are also without defender Daniel H Reinoso with a knee injury and keeper Anders Larsen who is out until june with an elbow injury.

Strømsgodset IF are reporting a full squad for the game.

Tiller IL - Molde FK

Josh Gatt and Sean Cunningham will hope to keep their places in Molde's preferred starting lineup for Cup play when the team visits fourth-tier Tiller IL on Wednesday.

After an exhausting week on U-20 duty in France, both Americans were able to have a weekend of rest as the players' strike caused Molde's league game to be called off.

This will hopefully have them refreshed and ready to go on Wednesday night, with a possible third straight start in Cup play likely in the works for both Americans.

Neither team is listing any injuries or suspensions for the game.

Notes

Sandefjord backup keeper Colin Burns is unlikely to take part when the team visits Lillestrøm for their third-round game.

Joseph Bendik should be watching from the bench as Sogndal IL's backup keeper on Wednesday when they host Asker.
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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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