PREVIEW: FC INTER - VPS
It will be a battle of yanks on Monday evening at Veritas Stadion in Turku as Daniel Antunez and FC Inter welcome in Greg Eckhardt and VPS.
Antunez should take his normal spot in defense for Inter who are looking to shake off their midweek Finnish Cup loss to IFK Mariehamn.
Meanwhile, Eckhardt and VPS were also eliminated from the Cup competition midweek when they fell to HJK 2-0.
However all was not lost for the former Clemson standout who started and went the distance in the defeat. VPS head coach Tommy Pikkarainen cited Eckhardt's performance in the match as one of the better ones displayed by the Vaasa club.
In recent history, this match has been decided by an American as it was then-VPS striker Lawrence Smith who tallied the lone goal in last year's contest between the two clubs in Turku.
Ironically, the friendly confines of Veritas Stadion have been anything but for Antunez and company this year as Inter have only recorded a single point in four home matches.
Their stellar 0-3 victory last week over JJK saw head coach Job Dragtsma employ more of a counterattacking scheme which paid immediate dividends for the club that had been struggling so far in this year's Veikkausliiga.
Eckhardt's compatriot Brian Pope is still out with an injured shoulder and will not be available for VPS. The timing is poor for Pope who would have likely been given his first start of the season due to the fact that normal number one netminder Jung-Hyuk Kwon is suspended.
Midfielders Joacim Tuuri and Jyri Hietaharju are also out with injuries for VPS.
Inter have goalkeeping issues of their own with Patrick Bantamoi and David Monsalve both injured leaving Dragtsma to go with the untested 20 year old Eemeli Reponen in net.
Joni Kauko and Timo Furuholmen are also out for the hosts due to injuries.