BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Monday, September 17, 2012
All 10,000 inhabitants of Barrington, Illinois will turn their eyes towards Halmstad on Monday as native sons Patrick Hopkins and Ryan Miller face off in a battle between two promotion candidates.
Umea FC - Degerfors IF
With the Superettan season slowly drawing to a close, Brian Edwards and Degerfors will hope to pick up an away win against last place Umea on Monday.
When available, Edwards has been the starting keeper for the Red and White this season, who are two points away from escaping the relegation zone with eight games left.
Degerfors lost to Umea 2-1 in April, giving the then newly promoted team their first win in the Swedish second tier. If Degerfors can take away all three points this weekend, they will make it nearly impossible for Umea to avoid relegation, as they are ten points away from safety at the moment.
Degerfors do not have any players suspended for Monday's showdown. However, the visitors will be without the services of Niklas Klingberg, Ferhad Ayaz and Gheorghe Andronic for the game, all of whom are out injured.
Erik Lundstrom is gone for the rest of the season for Umea while Henrik Sennstrom hasn't trained in a few weeks and will also have to miss Monday's match.
Halmstad BK - Ljungskile SK
Ryan Miller and red hot Halmstad welcome Patrick Hopkins and his Ljungskile teammates to town on Monday in a matchup of Barrington, Illinois natives.
The international break could not have come at a worse time for Halmstad, as the promotion hopefuls were in the midst of a five game winning streak which they hope to resume on Monday.
Miller has been a stalwart at right back for Halmstad all season. The Illinois native started his stint in Sweden with Ljungskile in 2008 but only played 14 matches for the team before moving on to his current club Halmstad in 2009. This season has been particularly successful for the defender as he is tied for second most assists in the league with seven.
Hopkins has also impacted his team in a very positive sense this year. The 24 year old central defender has started every single match in his first year with the club and has even managed to fill in at captain when regular choice Aleksandar Kitic has been forced to miss matches.
Halmstad's remarkable luck when it comes to injuries and suspensions continues this week with no forced omissions, and they will presumably start the same lineup for the 18th time out of 23 games this season.
Ljungskile are not reporting any omissions either, as the promotion rivals figure to battle out a hotly contested match with the end of the season approaching.
Alejandro Bedoya was suspended for Helsingborgs 4-0 victory over Sundsvall this weekend.