PREVIEW: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
Hunter Freeman, Clay Goodson and the rest of the Start squad look to continue Molde's misery while Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek pay a visit to surprise league leaders Aalesund.
Start - Molde
Start's American pairing of Hunter Freeman and Clay Goodson return home to Sor Arena on Saturday to face struggling Molde.
Freeman will be starting at his customary right back position while Goodson will man the center back position at the opening whistle.
The former ACC rivals have provided a stable presence in the back for head coach Knut Torum so far this season as Start is currently tied for second place in the league standings through two games.
This past Monday saw the Kristiansand club snag a crucial away point against defending Eliteserien champions Rosenborg, a match where many pundits thought that the visitors actually outplayed the title-holders.
Saturday's affair against Molde is a tricky one for the hosts. Molde have stumbled out of the gates this season with two consecutive losses so last year's league runners-up are desperate to get back on track.
Gone from the visitors is striker Mame Biram Diouf who has taken his craft to English giant Manchester United so the playmaking is on the shoulders of Senegalese midfielder Makhtar Thioune.
Start will counter with its powerful attacking front of Cristian Bolanos, Espen Borufsen and 21 year old Christer Kleiven who has scored in the club's first two matches.
Bolanos has recently been rumored with a move to Rosenborg although Start club officials appear to be mum on the subject.
Borufsen's goal last Monday against Rosenborg was his first in two injury-plagued years.
Jesper Mathisen, Petter Bruer Hansen will be likely absences for Start while Molde will be without Christian Steen and Bjorn Runstrom.
Aalesund - Stabaek
A visit to the west coast of Norway is in store for Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek who take on Eliteserien leaders Aalesund on Sunday at Color Line Stadion in Aalesund.
After starting the previous two matches as the right midfielder, Diskerud will be expected to fill the same slot against this year's early surprise leaders.
Stabaek are off to a comfortable start in this year's campaign with four points and will be helped this weekend should forward Veigar Pall Gunnarsson return from injury.
The Icelandic's omission from last week's starting 11 was noticeable as fellow strike partner Daniel Nannskog did not receive nearly as many goal scoring opportunities as he would have liked.
Diskerud has been solid thus far and has evidently gained the trust of head coach Jan Jonsson who has yet to substitute out the young Norwegian-American.
Aalesund are the defending Norwegian Cup champions but last year's 13th place league finish left alot more to be desired.
Colorful coach Kjetil Rekdal will turn to six foot seven inch Tor Hogne Aar°y to lurk around Stabaek's back line while speedy Jamaican midfielder Demar Phillips will try to add to his two goals on the season.
Aalesund will have a full squad available while Stabaek will be without Jon Inge Hoiland.
Attacking midfielder Kenneth Di Vita Jensen will hope to see some significant second half minutes off the bench and goalkeeper Steve Clark will start as the backup goalkeeper when Honefoss travel to Lillestrom on Sunday.