JON VAN WAGENEN - Monday, August 9, 2010
All four Americans in Sweden were 90 minute men, but none will be particularly pleased with the outcome for their teams.
Örebro 0 – 3 Malmö
Örebro hasn't had a win against Malmö in seven years and the trend continued with a disappointing shutout loss at home.
Despite Örebro's rise into a medal position, Malmö reasserted their dominance.
Alejandro Bedoya's match got off on the wrong foot when he was dispossessed trying to dribble out of Örebro's half.
Malmö central midfielder Wilton Figueredo made a short pass to Jiloan Hamad who fired in his first goal of the season past John Alvbåge's far post.
Just two minutes later, Agon Mehiti doubled the lead with a header off a precise cross from Jimmy Durmaz.
Bedoya had a great chance to reduce the lead in the 43rd minute, but could not gather in a pass from Paulino Guara at the penalty spot.
Just before the end of the half, it was Guara who wasted a setup from Bedoya. The cross came to the Brazilian's feet, but he couldn't keep balance to finish.
The final goal came after a Uruguayan-style goal-line handball by midfielder Nordin Gerzic, who was red-carded.
The resulting penalty kick by Daniel Larsson was taken with gusto that left Alvbåge hopeless in the 72nd minute.
The win took Malmö to within three points of first-place Helsingborg, while Örebro were hoping Halmstad could help them retain their five points of clearance from fourth-place place Elfsborg.
Up next for Bedoya is a high profile friendly with the US national team versus Brazil on Tuesday in New York.
He will have six days to recover before a Monday matchup with fifth place Mjällby.
Halmstad 1 – 3 Elfsborg
Despite returing to the starting Halmstad line-up, Ryan Miller was not able to help the home team to a win.
Miller made his first start of the season at left back, as coach Lars Jacobsson allowed the American to pair with Emil Solomonson, the impressive youngster who has recenctly impressed in the right back posistion.
Things got off to a bad start for Halmstad keeper Robin Malmkvist, who seemed to be having trouble with the rainy conditions.
In the fourth minute Denny Avdic headed a corner kick that bounced near the keeper's feet. Malmkvist got both hands on the ball, but it slipped through his grasp for an early goal.
Four minutes later, midfielder Stefan Ishizaki attempted a simple clearance to put the ball in the Halmstad half.
Although he kicked the ball from near midfield at the sideline, its path was towards the goal. Malmkvist rushed out to take the ball, but allowed it to bounce over his head from near the top of the penalty box.
His mad dash towards the goal-line could not prevent a mortifying goal.
Jacobsson had obviously seen enough from his regular starting keeper and replaced him with 20-year old Karl-Johan Johansson shortly thereafter.
Martin Andersson was given a red-card for a clumsy tackle of Joe Sise in the box in the 39th minute, but Marcus Olsons penalty attempt was saved by Ante Covic.
Just before the first half whistle, Alvic pounced on a rebound after a breakaway situation and scored his league-leading 15th goal of the season. Miller was not able to stop Johansson's deflection from landing at the strikers' feet.
In the 81st minute, Emil Kukovic found a loose ball in some space and scored a goal that was too little, too late.
The loss left Halmstad just one point ahead of AIK and Gefle, both European qualifiers currently slated for relegation. Elfsborg moved to within two points of Örebro.
Next up for Halmstad is a meeting with league-worst Åtvidaberg, while Elfsborg meets a surging Kalmar.
Falkenberg 1 – 1 Ljungskile
The winless streak continues for Ljungskile, who were able to salvage a draw in an even match against Falkenberg.
Mikael Boman scored a close range tap in past Nick Noble in the 24th minute after Christoffer Carlson set him up.
Forward Michael Thomas' only attempt on goal came from a 40-yard shot just before half-time.
Central midfielder Johan Patriksson had missed a month of action, but played 63 minutes as a substitute.
Patriksson's 81st minute header goal was able to save the point for the visitors. Martin Smedberg-Dalence continued his run of strong play with the assisting pass.