LIVESTREAM Finland: Porvoo Butchers @ United Newland Crusaders, June 18, 17:30 CET (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET)

The UNC Crusaders will host the Porvoo Butchers (1-0) for their season opener in this Friday Night football action in southern Finland.

This will be the Crusaders first game returning to Finland’s top league. Across the line they will be facing a Butchers team equally eager to make some noise after a disappointing 2020 season.

With all Finnish football fans watching, the Porvoo Butchers took care of business in the opening game of Finland’s Maple League, in a tightly contested 14-6 win against the Helsinki Wolverines. The Butchers defense played well as a pick six, another interception, and solid tackling held the Wolverines offense to only 211 total yards. Linebacker Timi Nuikka led the team with five and half tackles.

Porvoo Butchers @ United Newland Crusaders, June 18, 17:30 CET (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET)

Offensively, Butcher’s quarterback Jabari Harris and his revamped receiving core were largely held in check. Look for Harris and his talented playmakers to break out today as this game could be a back-and-forth shootout. New running back Sean Mcallen played well in his Maple League debut rushing for the game sealing touchdown and finishing the day with 123 all purpose yards. Mcallen’s running could be a key to the Butchers leaving with a win.

The home team UNC Crusaders enter the 2021 Maple League under new head coach Tuomas Heikkenin. Under center veteran quarterback Robert Johnson returns to lead this UNC squad. The former Texas Tech Red Raider (NCAA D1) has had success at many levels of Finnish football including winning a Maple Bowl with the Helsinki Roosters. Running back Kam Harris also returns to the Crusaders after playing for them in 2019. New Canadian receiver Jonelle Tolbert (York University) joins an experienced group of playmakers in Henri Norstrom and Eetu Päiväniemi. The offensive line will have to play well today in order to give Johnson time in his pass heavy offense. Look for Johnson to test this Porvoo secondary has Johnson has built a reputation as one of Finland’s top gunslingers.

Defensively, the Crusaders have brought in linebacker Micheal Hall and defender Daniel Szatmari. These newcomers join a defense led by veteran linebacker Jari-Antti Jääskeläinen. An X factor for the Crusaders will be Irish athlete Finn Kearns. Kearns has played defensive back and receiver before in Germany and is likely to play a multitude of positions for UNC this season. Linebacker play will be crucial as athletic quarterback Jabari Harris and running back Sean Mcallen will look to take advantage of poor pursuit angles today.

Both teams enter this season feeling as if they have something to prove. The Butchers look to contend for the playoffs after a winless 2020 season, while the Crusaders are eager to show the Maple League that they belong with the country’s top competition.

Watch the game live here. Porvoo Butchers @ United Newland Crusaders, June 18, 17:30 CET (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET).

United Newland Crusaders roster & depth chart

Porvoo Butchers roster & depth chart

 

 

 

 

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