DAVID SMITH - Saturday, April 6, 2013
Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg will try to get past their midweek Swedish Cup disappointment while the plethora of Americans in the Superettan begin their new seasons.
Djurgardens IF - Mjällby AIF
Brian Span and Djurgarden will look to prove that their opening-weekend blowout loss was merely an anomaly when they host Mjällby AIF on Monday.
Sam Petrone is out with a long-term injury for winless Mjällby and is not expected to take the field again for some time.
Span played the first half of Djurgarden's Swedish Cup quarterfinal victory at Norrköping on Thursday evening, an exhausting affair which was only decided by a penalty shoot-out.
The result follows their 3-0 demolishment at the hands of Helsingborg in the opening weekend of league action, and head coach Magnus Pehrsson will be banking on any momentum from the win to carry over into Monday's contest.
Mjällby also were dealt a loss in their opener, falling 2-1 at home to Norrköping, but will look to their success against their opponents from last season, when they won both of the two meetings.
Djurgarden will likely continue to be without injured players Joel Riddez and Daniel Jarl, and Brazilian newcomer Pablo is also unlikely to take part as he continues to acclimatize to the new team.
Mjällby are not currently reporting any absences apart from Petrone.
Östers Växjö - Helsingborgs IF
Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg will try to shake off their frustrating midweek Swedish Cup loss when they hit the road to take on Östers Växjö on Monday.
Helsingborg were dumped out of the cup after a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Göteborg on Wednesday, where they gave up an early goal and were unable to make up the deficit throughout nearly a full 90 minutes.
Bedoya's post-match comments criticizing their opponents' defensive style of play created a firestorm in Sweden, and he is almost assured to be teased by the Östers home contingent on Monday.
The hosts were also in action during the midweek, coming out victorious over IK Sirius in their Swedish Cup quarterfinal.
Having drawn with IF Brommapojkarna in last weekend's opener, they will look to start their home schedule off with a victory over a strong Helsingborg team that racked up a 3-0 win in their opener.
Helsingborg could still be missing injured defenders Emil Krafth and Jere Uronen while the hosts are likely without midfielder Denis Velic and defender Stefan Karlsson.
Ängelholms FF - IK Brage
Keeper Brian Meredith and former Red Bull New York defender Tyler Ruthven will both be looking for minutes on Monday when they raise the curtain on their 2013 Superettan season with a visit to Matt Pyzdrowski and Ängelholms FF.
These two teams finished the 2012 season dead even on points, with fairly lackluster campaigns leaving them barely in the lower half of the standings.
The hosts ended the season particularly poorly, winning just twice in their last 14 games. They did lose the experienced Pyzdrowski to a concussion for the latter half of the season, and the American will likely return to his starting role to help hold things together in the back.
For Brage, 21 year-old keeper Patrik Carlgren has been the preferred option over Meredith in goal for their cup games throughout March, however the two will be in fierce competition for the starting role
Ruthven just joined the team in the last days, and will likely need some time to be integrated before he contributed heavily on the field.
Brage are likely without injured defender Prince Eboagwu while Ängelholms are not reporting any absences.
Ljungskile SK - Hammarby IF
Baggio Husidic and Billy Schuler will both look to earn minutes for Gregg Berhalter's Hammarby squad as their season gets underway with a visit to Ljungskile SK.
Ljungskile's pair of Americans, defender Patrick Hopkins and midfielder Charlie Campbell, will also hope to be in the starting lineup for the hosts.
Due to the extended winter weather making Ljungskile's home field of Starke Arvid Arena unplayable, the game has been moved an hour south to the Borås Arena to take advantage of the artificial turf.
Hammarby are odd-on favorites to earn promotion this season, after they finished seven points back of the playoff in Berhalter's first season in charge.
Both Husidic and Schuler figure to be in regular rotation throughout the season, with both having earned regular starts in 2012.
Ljungskile finished the 2012 Superettan campaign in fourth place, however they were 14 points out of the playoff spot, and are not expected to be candidates to make the jump to the Allsvenskan this season either.
Hopkins started nearly every game in defense for Ljungskile last season, and is expected to do so again in 2013. Campbell recently joined the team, but was a regular in their Swedish Cup games throughout March.
Neither team is reporting any absences.