Sunday, September 12, 2010
Greg Eckhardt and VPS were able to salvage a draw versus Haka while two-thirds of the American trio at Mariehamn helped stop a red-hot TPS.
Haka 1 - 1 VPS
Greg Eckhardt was a 90 minute man on defense as VPS pulled out a draw on the road versus Haka at Tehtaan Kenttä Stadium in Valkeakoski.
Eckhardt started in defense once again and was having another solid outing until a questionable call put the former Clemson standout in the middle of some controversey in the 55th minute.
A ball into the area intended for Haka's Xhevdet Gela was guarded closely by Eckhardt. Gela lost his footing but the referee whistled that Eckhardt had committed a foul and pointed to the penalty spot.
Unsurprisingly the American voiced his disapproval and was given a yellow card.
Gela stepped to the spot and easily converted the kick to put the hosts ahead.
VPS would get their revenge though 21 minutes later when a looping high corner kick fell back to earth and pinballed around the six yard line until it landed at the feet of Antonio Inutile who poked it home for the equalizer and the splitting of points.
Eckhardt and company remain in eighth place in the Veikkausliiga standings with 26 points and next return home to face Daniel Antunez and FC Inter.
IFK Mariehamn 2 - 1 TPS
Giuseppe Funicello made his debut in defense next to Mason Trafford as Mariehamn brought TPS' winning streak to a screeching halt with a victory at Wiklöf Holding Arena in Mariehamn.
Both Funicello and Trafford started on the Mariehamn back line and went the distance in the upset victory.
Fellow American Lamar Neagle did not make the gameday roster.
The hosts from the Aland Islands showed they meant business from the outset scoring in just the second minute of play.
Mike Niskala played a ball into Echiabhi Okodugha from the left wing and Okodugha stroked home the shot the put the hosts up.
But TPS' Riku Riski was able to take advantage of a brief lapse in the islanders' defense and scored to level things heading into halftime.
TPS continued to apply pressure as they were clearly searching for another win to add to their five match winning streak but dreams of that all came to an end just ten minutes from time.
Sami Rahmon was trying to clear a relatively harmless ball out of danger but managed to send it into his own net much to the delight of the home fans.
TPS desperately tried to counter but Funicello and Trafford helped lock down the defense to secure the win.
The victory sends Mariehamn up the standings to 10th place with 24 points. They will next travel to Haka on September 20th.
Daniel Antunez continues to be sidelined with an injury and did not take part in FC Inter's 1-0 loss at AC Oulu.