JOHN KRETLOW - Thursday, August 18, 2011
Nearly all the Americans in Finland have suffered through slumps recently, with Daniel Stevens and Etchu Tabe hoping to kickstart their upward movement towards safety this weekend.
IFK Mariehamn - Jyväskylän Jalkapalloklubi
Americans Mason Trafford, Josh Wicks, and Giuseppe Funicello all look to help IFK Mariehamn take on Jyväskylän Jalkapalloklubi this Sunday in Veikkausliiga action.
The three Yanks started Mariehamn's loss to Inter Turku last Monday, with Trafford and Wicks going the distance and Funicello getting subbed off in the second half. They are all expected to feature once again this weekend.
Mariehamn are now winless in six games and will need a win in order to regain their momentum. With roughly half the season still to play, they find themselves in seventh place, twelve points from the last Europa League spot.
JJK currently hold the last Europa League spot and hold a four point lead over TPS for that position. They tied Jaro last Monday but will go for the three points this weekend to increase their hold on the final European spot in the Veikkausliiga.
Mariehamn's Jarkko Värttö will miss due to suspension after a red card he received last week against Inter Turku.
PS Kemi Kings - FC Lahti
Daniel Stevens and PS Kemi Kings take on league leaders FC Lahti in Ykkönen play this weekend.
Stevens started and played 78 minutes in Kemi's loss to Hämeenlinna last week. The midfielder should start once again for Kings.
Kemi are currently in the relegation zone and are eight points from safety. Though half the season is still left to play, they will need to start garnering points now if they want to avoid third division soccer next year.
Lahti find themselves in a completely different situation as Kemi. They currently stand first in the standings and hold the only promotion spot in the Ykkönen. Lahti beat PoPa last Monday 4-0 and will hope to keep up the strong play this weekend against Kemi.
Neither team is carrying any suspensions and both have no injuries listed.
AC Oulu - Hämeenlinna
Jeremy Vuolo will be in goal for AC Oulu's game against Hämeenlinna.
Vuolo started and went the distance in Oulu's win over Koo TeePee last week. He will again be in the starting lineup this weekend.
Oulu have currently won three games in a row and they will want to extend their winning streak against Hämeenlinna. They only trail first place Lahti by six points.
Hämeenlinna are coming off a win over PS Kemi Kings last week and they only trail Oulu by four points in the standings. A win is crucial for their promotion aspirations this season.
Both teams carry no significant injuries or suspensions.
RoPS - Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi
Etchu Tabe and RoPS take on Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi in Veikkausliiga play this Sunday.
Tabe started and went the distance for RoPS as they tied Kups Kuopio on Monday. The defender had missed the previous two games due to suspension. The American should get the start once again for RoPS.
RoPS are currently in the cellar of the Veikkausliiga and are seven points from safety. A win would go far in helping RoPS avoid relegation this season.
HJK are in first place in the standings and hold a nine point lead over second place Inter Turku. They will go for the win to hold on to their Champions League qualifier spot.
They play on Thursday against Schalke 04 in Europa League action, so the quick turnaround to Sunday's game may mean a change in their lineup.
Kellan Wilson will be on the bench for HIFK's game against Espoo.