LIVESTREAM Finland: Porvoon Butchers @ Helsinki Roosters, Aug. 13, 18:30 (17:30 CET, 11:30 ET)

Week 3 of Finland’s Maple League starts off with the Porvoon Butchers (0-2) visiting the Helsinki Roosters (0-2) Thursday night. The defending champion Roosters are looking for their first win of the season against the equally winless Butchers.

The Roosters are coming off of a 34-14 loss to the Seinajoki Crocodiles last week. Starting quarterback Miro Kadmiry showed his toughness by playing through a lower body injury. Kadmiry showed off a noticeable limp but still managed to throw for 153 yards and a touchdown. The Roosters were also missing their starting running back Karri Pajarinen who apparently will miss an extended period of time with a hand injury. Without their best playmakers at full strength the Roosters struggled offensively in Seinajoki, scoring only 13 points and turning the ball over twice. Fortunately, the Roosters have signed running back Mike Gentili (Bridgewater: NCAA D3). Gentili is an Italian-American who ran for 21,67 yards and 23 touchdowns over the last two seasons for the Lazio Ducks in Italy. He also is the starting running back for the Italian National team is a powerful running back that should help his new offense move the sticks more consistently. Although he is not cleared to play until August 21, Gentili knows how important this Thursday is to his new team:

“We are in a unique position for this program where pretty much every game from here on out is a playoff game.”

Defensively Helsinki was without their star defensive end Okko Outinen last week. The unit was burned by the Crocodiles running back Christian Powell who ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns. The Roosters will need other defenders to step up like 21 year old lineman Christer Berg who had a tackle for loss in last week’s game.

Porvoon Butchers @ Helsinki Roosters, Aug. 13, 18:30 (17:30 CET, 11:30 ET)

The visiting Porvoon Butchers are also coming off of a tough loss after falling to the Kuopio Steelers 48-21. Butchers Quarterback Jabari Harris was a bright spot in the loss running for 94 yards and 2 touchdowns. Harris also used his arm to find wide receiver Mikko Seppanen six times  for 94 yards and a touchdown. New receiver Juuso Alakoski was more involved last week catching three passes for 38 yards. Unfortunately sacks and turnovers slowed down the Butchers as Harris was sacked three times and threw two interceptions. Alakoski preached a balanced attack when discussing this week’s matchup.

“We can’t let them make big plays when they are on offense, and we have to have a working running game.”

The Butchers run defense will have to improve after giving up 261 yards rushing on the ground, and 474 total yards against the Steelers. Their lack of speed on defense was exposed last week by the Steelers Lamar Carswell who broke three long runs of over 60 yards. The Butchers will be looking for linebacker Timmi Nuikka who had three tackles last week to step up and be the run stopper they need.

Thursday night’s matchup features two teams that are desperate for a win. The Roosters are hungry and not used to being winless. On the other side, the Butchers have shown the potential to be very competitive the last two weeks, but have fallen short. This game could be vital in deciding which team could take one of the final play off spots.

Watch the game live here. Porvoon Butchers @ Helsinki Roosters, Aug. 13, 18:30 (17:30 CET, 11:30 ET)

Click here to access live stats.

Helsinki Roosters starting lineup and depth chart (Click images to enlarge)

Porvoon Butchers starting lineup and depth chart (Click images to enlarge)

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and