LIVESTREAM FINLAND: Helsinki Wolverines @ Helsinki Roosters, August 12, 17:30 CET (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET)

After a one-week break, the Finnish Maple League is back in action as the Helsinki Roosters (4-1) host their cross-town rivals, the Helsinki Wolverines (3-4) in this Thursday night matchup.

These two teams met back in mid-June as the Roosters escaped with a 28-22 win in an exciting back and forth game.  Expect these rival clubs to play hard as this capital city matchup has not disappointed as of late.

The Wolverines enter the Helsinki Velodrome looking to win their third straight game in that stadium. Two weeks ago, the Wolverines were able to scrape by the Wasa Royals using overtime to win 26-20. Quarterback Jordan Williams showed his ability to scramble as he ran for 65 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Running back Joonatan El Ouacef combines well with William’s speed giving the Wolverines both finesse and power on the ground. In the passing game Dejion Lynch and Juuso Alakoski project to be the main targets for Williams this week.

Helsinki Wolverines @ Helsinki Roosters, August 12, 17:30 CET (5:30pm, 11:30am ET)

However, there is some bad news for the Wolverines. Leading receiver and leading tackler Curtis Slater has left the team to join the European League of Football. The veteran defensive back had been playing both ways for the Wolverines excelling as a defensive back and wide receiver. His presence on the field will certainly be missed on both sides of the ball. Fans can expect H-back Asko Mantymaki to see more targets as the physical veteran can block well and move the sticks as a possession receiver.

Defensively expect young safety Arttu Ketonen to step up in Slater’s place. The young Fin led the Maple League with four interceptions last year. Dejion Lynch and Eric Irvin will look to help the young safety as the Wolverines secondary faces a talented Roosters passing attack. In the trenches, Benjamin Egbudiwe aims to get after the quarterback from his defensive tackle position.

The Roosters are coming off of a tough loss at home to the Kuopio Steelers. The loss was followed by the announcement that safety Arttu Pajarinen and defensive end Cameron Gruel will miss significant amounts of time due to injuries. Expect Okko Outinen to get more snaps at the line of scrimmage as the veteran seems ready to make another run at the title. Behind him, linebacker Roni Salonen has the tough task of containing dynamic quarterback Jordan Williams, who has proven himself to be a legit runner. Young defensive back Viljo Lempinen should step up the secondary ready to help this Roosters team compete for a title.

Offensively the Roosters have added a familiar face to their stacked backfield in Italian American Mike Gentili. Gentili led the Roosters in rushing last season, using his elite speed to break away from defenders. The roster move comes after the news that running back Karri Pajarinen injured himself playing for the national team this past weekend. Veteran Gentili returns to Finland after playing for Osos Rivas in Spain and Lazio Ducks of Italy earlier this year. The versatile tailback joins a talented backfield featuring Andres Lindley and Micky Kyei. Look for Miro Kadmiry to target his running backs out of the backfield early and often today. On the outside, the Finnish gunslinger will look to take advantage of Slater’s absence and challenge the Wolverines secondary with 6’5″ speedster Rashad Still. Unfortunately, receiver Verneri Rainio has been ruled out with injury. With Rainio on the sideline, fans can expect to see former European track star William Kajander see more playing time as the Roosters look to use the rookie’s world-class speed.

The Roosters and Wolverines have produced some instant classics in their last few matchups, fans are expecting to see another competitive game again today. The Wolverines look to make a playoff push as the regular season winds down. Meanwhile, the Roosters are eager to finish the regular season strong and prepare for another championship run.

Watch the game live here. Helsinki Wolverines @ Helsinki Roosters, August 12, 17:30 CET (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET)

Helsinki Roosters Depth/roster

Helsinki Wolverines Depth/roster

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football