PREVIEW: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
Hunter Freeman and Clarence Goodson travel with Start to take on league leaders Aalesund while Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek look for three points against surprising Haugesund.
Aalesunds - Start
American defender Hunter Freeman and Clarence Goodson travel to Aaslesunds with IK Start where they will face the second ranked Eliteserien team at Color Line Stadion.
Freeman and Goodson are likely to represent the defensive line of Knut Torum's high scoring team, at right and center back respectively. With 19 this season, Start leads the Eliteserien in goals scored from their position of 5th in the rankings.
Freeman is responsible for one of Start's 19, with a goal last weekend in the 2-0 victory over Hønefoss. It was his first of the season.
While Freeman and Goodson represent a dynamic duo on the back line, it is the combination of Christer Kleiven and Ole Martin Arst up top, that Start will call upon to beat an Aalesunds team whom occupied the top of the Eliteserien for several weeks. Together, Kleiven and Arst have scored 11 goals.
The game against Aalesunds will mark the first of three road games for Start. Just four points out of the lead, consecutive wins could put them in the league's top three.
Stabaek - Haugesund
American midfielder Mikkel Diskerud of Stabaek returns to Oslo to face a seventh ranked Haugesund at Ullevall Stadion.
Stabaek will borrow fellow Eliteserien squad, Valerenga's Ulleval Stadion as they host Jostein Grindhaug and his west coast team, Sunday. Stabaek's home of Telenor Arena, which also serves as a concert venue, will be used for the Eurovision Song Content through the end of May.
Perhaps the scenery change will serve as inspiration for a Jan Jonsson offense whom have struggled as of late. The 2008 Eliteserien champions haven't scored a goal since April 18th and in the process, have conceded two games.
With the help of Veigar Pall Gunnarsson, who returned last week after a lengthy ankle rehab, Diskerud will do his best to change Stabaek's offensive patterns. A goal against Haugesund would be his second of the season.
If Stabaek can establish some momentum with three points and a win over Haugesund, they may stand a chance of once again climbing the Eliteserien ranks before the first third of the season concludes.
Hønefoss - Molde
Hønefoss will be without American goalkeeper Steve Clark as they play host to Molde at AKA Arena, Sunday.
The Michigan native, who has been out of competition for nine days, continues to rehab a strained right quad. Thomas Solvoll will take his place in net against Molde as the team returns home following two road games.
For nine straight weeks Hønefoss has occupied the last place in the Eliteserien with a lone 1-0 win over Stabaek, April 21st. The win came just days after Hønefoss board members replaced head coach Ole Bjorn Sundgot with Tom Gulbrandsen.
Gulbrandsen has expressed his interest lately, in turning the interim position into a full time job. A win over Molde this weekend may convince board members to do just that.
But a win is unlikely unless Gulbrandsen's offense drastically changes their current scoreless trends. In eight games Hønefoss has managed just three goals, while Molde has scored a whopping 14.
Without striker Madiou Konate, Hønefoss will count on Davy Angan and Kamal Saaliti to make that change happen. Second-half substitute and Norwegian American Kenneith Di Vita Jensen also hopes to contribute offensively and secure the team's second win.
FC Lyn goalkeeper Tyrel Lacey is nearing recovery from a knee injury but will stay watch his 1. Division club from the stands when they face Moss on Sunday.
Colin Burns will be on the bench as the backup goalkeeper for Sarpsborg who travel to Bryne to take on Chris Rodd's old club.
Backup netminder Joseph Bednik and his Sogndal teammates welcome northerners Tromsdalen in 1. Division action on Sunday.