MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, June 28, 2013
Josh Gatt and Mikkel Diskerud will play their last league matches before travelling to the United States for the Gold Cup, and Zarek Valentin and Bodø/Glimt look to stay hot in Adeccoligaen play.
Molde FK - Sarpsborg 08
Josh Gatt looks to help Molde get back onto the right track in his last club match before joining the United States Men's National team for the Gold Cup, a match against Sarpsborg on Saturday.
As a consistent first-team choice for coach Ole Gunnar Solskjӕr, the American winger should be in Molde's starting lineup.
The defending back-to-back Norwegian champion has struggled through 13 matches. Molde has recorded only 11 points so far, but the team is riding a three-match unbeaten streak, which might bode well for a turnaround.
A newly promoted team, Sarpsborg has punched well above its weight, sitting in ninth place with 17 points so far. Sarpsborg's biggest problem this season has been its play on the road, where it has allowed more than twice as many goals (15) as it has scored (7).
Molde's starting goalkeeper to start the season, Espen Bugge Pettersen, is still out with a leg injury. Sarpsborg will also be without its No. 1 in net, as Haraldur Björnsson is set to miss another match due to injury, and defender Martin Thømt Jensen joins Björsson on the injury list.
Sogndal - Hønefoss BK
Steve Clark, Kenneth di Vita Jensen and Hønefoss hope to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone at Sogndal on Saturday.
Clark will mind the goal, while di Vita Jensen will hope to feature for Hønefoss.
Hønefoss hasn't come out in the 2013 season the way it did in 2012, when Hønefoss shocked Norway by climbing as high as fourth place before falling down the standings after July. Part of the reason is that Clark, who was voted best goalkeeper in the Tippeligaen last season, and the defense has allowed more goals (20) than last year, but the offense has been more productive.
In eighth position, Sogndal sit three places and five points ahead of Hønefoss in the standings, thanks in large part to a three-match unbeaten streak coming into Saturday's tilt.
Hønefoss might be without Remond Mendy and Alexander Groven for the match, while Heiner Mora should have recovered from an illness.
Sogndal is not reporting any injuries.
Viking Stavanger - Rosenborg Trondheim
Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg can keep pace with or overtake league leader Strømsgodset with a win at Viking on Sunday.
Before traveling to the U.S. for the Gold Cup, Diskerud should suit up for Rosenborg and play in the central midfield.
Rosenborg recorded a big win last weekend against Strømsgodset, allowing the Troll Kids to pull within two points of the top of the standings. Coach Per Joar Hansen has preached to his players that they cannot become complacent, though, and to not let down after such a huge match is a good way to prove that.
Viking isn't going to be a cakewalk for Rosenborg anyway, as shown by its fourth-place position in the standings. The home team has the league's second-best defense, allowing 13 goals, and only three of those allowed goals have come at home.
Midfielder Makhtar Thioune is questionable for Viking, and Veton Berisha should miss another match. Rosenborg is not reporting any injuries.
Ranheim - FK Bodø/Glimt
Zarek Valentin and Bodø/Glimt ride a nine-match unbeaten streak and hope to stretch it out to 10 matches at Ranheim on Sunday.
Valentin will start at right back, where he's become a mainstay for Bodø/Glimt since joining the team on loan from the Montreal Impact in March.
Bodø/Glimt has dominated the Adeccoligaen this season, sitting atop the standings with a three-point cushion over second and third places, with a match in-hand on the third-place team Hødd. The team is tied for the least number of goals allowed (11) and has scored the most goals in the Adeccoligaen (27).
Despite being right in the mix for a direct promotion spot, a three-match losing streak has seen Ranheim drop from the top of the standings into fourth place. All three losses came from teams below Ranheim: Stabӕk, Kristansund and HamKam.
Ranheim's Magnus Blakstad is questionable for the match, while Bodø/Glimt is not reporting any injuries.
Ullensaker/Kisa - Mjøndalen IF
Rhett Bernstein and Mjøndalen look to build off a win last weekend when they travel to Ullensaker/Kisa on Sunday.
Bernstein should start at center back for Mjøndalen, as he has since returning from injury.
Mjøndalen snapped a four-match losing streak last weekend against Vard Haugesund, ending the team's free fall in the Adeccoligaen standings. Mjøndalen sits six points above the relegation zone, but after participating in the promotion playoffs last season, the team will hope to climb right back up the standings.
Like Mjøndalen, Ullensaker/Kisa ended a winless streak, but in Ullensaker's/Kisa's case, its lasted seven matches. Although one spot behind Mjøndalen in the standings, Ullensaker/Kisa is five points back and one point ahead of the pack stuck in the relegation zone.
Mjøndalen could be without midfielder Bjarne Ingebretsen and forward Ivar Andreas Forn, while Ullensaker/Kisa is not reporting any injuries.
Anothy Avalos will hope to dress and get onto the field for Vard Haugesund against Elverum on Sunday.