PREVIEW: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
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MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, July 27, 2012
Steve Clark and Hønefoss have the opportunity to jump into European contention with a win, while Kyle Helton, Rhett Bernstein and Mjøndalen take on a fellow-promotion contender.

Hønefoss BK - FK Haugesund

After returning to normalcy last week with a shutout win, Hønefoss take on a reeling Haugesund team Sunday.

American goalkeeper Steve Clark should start in net as he has all season for Hønefoss. Forward Kenneth di Vita Jensen should make the bench.

Clark recorded his seventh shutout of the season in last week's 2-0 win over Fredrikstad. The win marked the second time since the end of the summer break that Hønefoss allowed only one goal or less.

Because of Hønefoss' defensive struggles, Haugesund now boasts the best defense in Norway with 15 goals allowed. That number propelled Haugesund to fourth place.

Despite its placement in the standings, Haugesund has struggled since the summer break. The team is riding a four-game winless streak, including losses to 12th place Odd Grenland and third place Rosenborg.

Neither team is reporting any injuries at this time. (Needs edit).

Aalesund FK - Stabæk IF

With one foot in the Adeccoligaen, Stabæk rides a four-game losing streak to Aalesund Sunday.

American defender Sean Cunningham should start at center back for Stabæk.

After winning two games in a row, it looked as though Stabæk might make a run to stay in the Tippeligaen, but a month later, Stabæk sits 10 points out of the promotion playoff spot and 11 points out of safety.

Aalesund won't be a cakewalk, either. Aalesund brings plenty of confidence after putting five goals past Albania's Tirana in the second leg of its Europa League qualifying matchup.

Neither team is reporting injuries at this time. (Needs edit).

FK Bodø/Glimt - Mjøndalen IF

Wasting an opportunity to take a huge leap in the promotion picture last week, Mjøndalen can kill two birds with one stone when it takes on Bodø/Glimt.

American defender duo Kyle Helton and Rhett Bernstein should start for Mjøndalen.

Although Mjøndalen sits in eighth place, the team is only three points behind the last automatic promotion slot, held by Ullensaker/Kisa. Currently in the Adeccoligaen, eight teams are within six points of each toward the top of the standings.

One of those teams happens to be Bodø/Glimt. Bodø/Glimt dropped to sixth place after a three-game winless streak and need points for its own confidence.

Neither team is reporting injuries at this time. (Needs edit).

Ranheim IL - Bærum SK

Following a tough loss, Bærum hopes it won't lead to another long losing streak when it faces Ranheim Sunday.

American defender Sebastian Troupe should start in the back line for Bærum.

Three weeks ago and with little hope of staying in the Norwegian second division, Bærum found itself, winging two in a row. That winning streak ended a nine-game losing streak.

The team came back to earth last Sunday, when it lost 3-1 to Sandefjord.

Fifth place Ranheim will provide a challenge for Bærum's possible bounce back. Ranheim has scored the second most goals in the Adeccoligaen (28), while Bærum allows the most goals in the league (34).

Neither team is reporting injuries at this time.

Notes:

American Josh Gatt will miss Molde's game against Lillestrøm Saturday because of a strained hamstring.
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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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