DAVID SMITH - Saturday, July 23, 2011
Etchu Tabe and RoPS are in desperate need of a win as they visit MyPa while Josh Wicks and his American teammates at Mariehamn will look for some revenge when Finnish Cup villians KuPS pay them a return visit.
IFK Mariehamn - Kuopio PS
Josh Wicks will be starting in Mariehamn's goal while both Giuseppe Funicello and Mason Trafford will look for minutes off the bench when the Islanders host KuPS on Sunday.
This will be the third meeting between the two teams since mid-May, and if recent events are any indication of what is to come, then Mariehamn could be in for a frustrating afternoon.
KuPS won the first meeting in Veikkausliiga action in a game which Mariehamn dominated for long stretches, then humiliated the Islanders in their own home stadium one week later by a 3-0 score in the semifinal of the Finnish Cup.
Revenge will certainly be on the minds of Wicks and his teammates as KuPS return to the scene of the crime, and it couldn't have come at a better time as KuPS have had a tough go of things in recent weeks.
In addition to an awful run in league play during which they have not won in their last seven games, they were also knocked out of the Europa League by Romanian team Gaz Metan Medias, leaving them both disheartened and exhausted for Sunday's game.
Neither team is reporting any injuries or suspensions for the game.
MyPa Anjalankoski - Rovaniemi PS
Etchu Tabe and RoPS are slowly falling into an abyss and need a positive result on their trip to MyPa if they hope to turn things around for the second half of the season.
The team's promising beginning in the Veikkausliiga has quickly deteriorated into a near hopeless spiral, with their streak without having won a game now standing at ten.
Tabe's return from injury problems has done little to boost them, as the last two contests both ended in losses, by a combined 5-1 score.
Despite these troubles, RoPS still stand only two points below the surface, so all hope is not yet lost. Their last victory in the league came against Monday's opponents MyPa, who they handily beat by a 4-0 score more than two months ago.
MyPa has fared somewhat better in league play, although they are only two points above the drop zone and are still reeling from their 5-2 blowout loss at the hands of second-place Inter Turku last weekend.
Both teams are reporting full squads for the game.
JIPPO Joensuu - PS Kemi Kings
Daniel Stevens and PS Kemi Kings will try to put an end to their six-game winless run on Saturday when they visit JIPPO Joensuu.
The team suffered a major letdown last week, being unable to hold onto a first-half lead in their loss to Oulu PS. This left them in ninth place in the standings, and hovering just two points above the bottom three.
If the current season is any indication, they could be in for a low-scoring draw on Saturday, as JIPPO have finished two-thirds of their games on even terms so far in Ykkönen play.
This has left them just below Kemi in the standings, as they have won only once through their first 12 games, with a lack of goalscoring prowess their major enemy.
Kemi are reporting no injuries, while JIPPO will be missing defender Mikko Määttänen and forward Toni Tahvanainen.
The Ykkönen's pair of American keepers - Jeremy Vuolo and Kellan Wilson - both have the weekend off as neither AC Oulu nor HIFK have any league games scheduled.