MATHEW WAGNER - Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Josh Gatt and Molde look to continue their winning streak, while Steve Clark, Kenneth di Vita Jensen and Hønefoss try to claim another upset.
Molde FK - Tromsø IL
Molde rides a four-game winning streak when Tromsø comes to town Thursday.
American winger Joshua Gatt should start for Molde.
Speculation concerning Molde's coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, over the weekend created a media circus about whether the former Manchester United player would become the next coach of English side Aston Villa.
Despite the rumors that he was one of the top candidates for the job, Aston Villa confirmed Tuesday night that Solskjær refused for family reasons, giving Molde a boost heading into the summer break.
The media circus didn't affect Molde Sunday, when the team beat Sandnes Ulf handily, 2-0, and with the Aston Villa situation finished, the team has one less distraction for this game.
Fourth place Tromsø comes into the game having trounced Viking Sunday, 5-1
Molde will be without long-term injured players Emmanuel Ekpo and Borre Stenslid, while Tromsø will be without first-choice goalkeeper Marcus Sahlman and Thomas Kind Bendiksen.
FK Haugesund - Hønefoss BK
Hønefoss hopes to claim its third upset in as many games when it travels to third place Haugesund Thursday.
American goalkeeper Steve Clark will start in net for Hønefoss, while forward Kenneth di Vita Jensen should make the matchday squad.
Hønefoss beat two giants of Norwegian soccer, Rosenborg and Vålerenga, last week. Before this winning streak, the team had lost two in a row.
Like Rosenborg, Haugesund comes into the game with an impressive unbeaten streak. After losing its first game to Vålerenga, Haugesund is unbeaten in nine straight. However, Hønefoss pulled off the upset in that one on the road, a similar situation heading into this game.
Hønefoss is not reporting any injuries. Haugesund could be without Eirik Mæland and Chris Pozniak.
Viking Stavanger - Stabæk IF
Stabæk hopes to shock a reeling Viking squad Wednesday evening.
Americans Sean Cunningham and Ricardo Clark should start at center back and central midfield for Stabæk, respectively.
Stabæk's season has been one to forget so far, losing its last eight matches. The team currently sits in last place and has picked up only one point.
Stabæk has two games to build some sort of momentum heading into the summer break, the first against Viking. Viking comes into the game limping, having given Lillestrøm its first win of the season and having been pummeled by Tromsø Sunday.
Both teams post the bottom two scoring offenses in the Tippeligaen, but with Stabæk allowing 24 goals in nine games so far, odds are that will not last.
Stabæk is not reporting any injuries. Viking will be without Johan Lædre Bjordal and King Osei Gyan due to injury and Henri Anier and Martin Omskov due to yellow card accumulation. Indridi Sigurdsson is doubtful.
Mjøndalen IF - Bærum SK
In Norway's second division, the Adeccoligaen, a trio of Americans faces off when Bærum travels to Mjøndalen Wednesday.
American defender Sebastian Troupe should start in the backline for Bærum, while Mjøndalen's American duo of Kyle Helton and Rhett Bernstein should start in defense.
This game was postponed from April 15th, when the Mjøndalen stadium was not ready for action.
Neither team has started as well as they wanted, with Mjøndalen sitting in 11th place and Bærum sitting in last place.
For Mjøndalen, the problem is the offense, tied for the second-worst goals scored tally in the Adeccoligaen. For Bærum, the problem is the defense, tied for the second-worst goals allowed tally with two games in hand.
Bærum will be without Thomas Finstad. Mjøndalen could be without Fredrik Guisvik, Lars Granaas and Marius Boldt.