PREVIEW: WEEKEND FINNISH ACTION
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DAVID SMITH - Saturday, May 28, 2011
The Americans at Mariehamn will look to regroup after their heartbreaking midweek cup loss while Daniel Stevens will hope to have kept his scoring touch for Kemi Kings.

Vaasan Palloseura - IFK Mariehamn

Following their 3-0 defeat in Thursday's Finnish Cup semifinal, Josh Wicks, Mason Trafford, Giuseppe Funicello and their IFK Mariehamn teammates will have to jump right back into the thick of it when they visit Vaasa PS on Sunday.

The Islanders were dominated from start to finish on Thursday night in their second loss to KuPS in the space of one week. Fate couldn't have picked a better opponent for them to try to rebound against, as VPS are languishing at the bottom of the standings with just a paltry four points from their first six games.

VPS have lost each of their last four games, and despite playing at home, could be in for a rough afternoon against a Mariehamn squad which will surely be playing with a major chip on their shoulder.

Mariehamn will be missing forward Mikko Paatelainen, midfielder Markus Paatelainen and defender Fernando de Abreu all due to injury, and defender Johannes Nordström who is just returning from international duty in Portugal.

VPS are without midfielder Tero Koskela and forward Valter Laaksonen.

Haka Valkeakoski - Rovaniemi PS

Etchu Tabe and RoPS will hope to put in an improved defensive performance on Monday evening when they visit tenth-place Haka.

RoPS have had no problems to score goals in their recent games, putting seven on the scoreboard in their last two games, however the defense failed them in the last game, where they registered a tough 4-3 loss to Inter Turku.

Aside from that collapse - and an earlier 3-3 draw with Mariehamn - the team has been relatively solid in the back, giving up five games in their other four games.

They will face a downtrodden Haka team that is quickly plummeting towards the relegation zone. Their last four games have ended in three losses and one draw, and they are momentarily just one point clear of the bottom two.

Neither team is reporting any injuries or suspensions.

PS Kemi Kings - FC Hämeenlinna

Daniel Stevens will get the start in Kemi Kings' midfield on Sunday, and try to keep up his scoring touch when they host FC Hämeenlinna.

Stevens was the difference maker in the team's 1-0 road win last weekend, netting the only goal of the game as the team fought to their first win of the season.

After three games, they are ninth in the standings, although with one game in hand over most of the other teams in the league.

Their opponents Hämeenlinna are coming off a narrow defeat in their last outing against FC KooTeePee, although they still rank as one of the better teams in the division in fourth place.

Kemi will be without Joona Veteli, forward Aki Karjula and Jukka Yrjänheikki due to injury. Hämeenlinna will be missing midfielder Harri Suhosen, forward Jukka-Pekka Tuomenoja to a leg injury and Tommi Puronahon with an ankle problem.

FC KooTeePee Kotka - AC Oulu

Jeremy Vuolo will be starting in AC Oulu's goal on Sunday when they try to run their undefeated streak to four games at FC KooTeePee Kotka.

AC have looked good throughout their first three games, winning the last two after drawing even in their season opener.

This has been good enough to have them sitting third in the league, and they could very well jump to the summit should they take the three points at KooTeePee.

Last week they were impressive in their 2-0 shut-out win over FC Lahti, but will face stiff opposition at Kotka, who have won each of their last two gavms by a 1-0 score.

AC will be without forwards Joonas Pennanen and Tuure Siira while KooTeePee are reporting no absences.
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