LIVESTREAM Finnish Semifinal: Helsinki Roosters @ Kuopio Steelers, Sept. 2, 17:30 CET, (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET)

It’s playoff time in Finland’s Maple League. The top-seeded Kuopio Steelers (12-0) will host the Helsinki Roosters (8-4) in the first semifinal. These two teams met twice this season with the Steelers winning convincingly both times. Now, this proud Roosters team hopes to shock the Maple League and knock off the back-to-back champs.

Helsinki Roosters @ Kuopio Steelers September 2nd, 17:30 CET, (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET)

The Steelers have a simple formula for their dominance – run the ball and play great defense. They’ve mastered both this season once again. Offensively, the Steelers average over 219 yards a game on the ground, good for best in the league. Second-year running back Leanthony Reasnover led the league on the ground this season, with 1,763 yards and an astounding 30 touchdowns. When passing, look for savvy veteran quarterback Joey Bradley to target fullback Ville Lindsten, and receivers Isaac Marshall and Hannes Harju.

The Steelers defense leads the league with 38 sacks. They also had the top total defense holding opponents to a mere 12 points a game. Linebacker Colby Campbell, along with returning Steelers defenders Ikeem Allen (Miami OH), Jani Lindqvist, Roni Laine, and Iro Pekkarinen this a tough unit to score against. Look for them to try to blitz and get to the Roosters quarterback today, early and often. 

The Roosters offensive line will need to step up today against a fierce Steelers front seven. Quarterback Bryce Stancomb hopes to find young star Lassi Pajarinen throughout the game today, as the young athlete has been a huge difference-maker for Helsinki in the last three games. French receiver Aymeric Nicault and young Pitkanan talents Ambro Urjansson and Tarmo Pitkanan hope to give this offense some big play ability.

Defensively, Helsinki will look for key players Christer Berg, Taavi Aronpaa, Kaleb Wezdenko, and veteran Cam Gruel to to win in the trenches against a physical Steelers offensive line. If Helsinki can’t stop the run they will be in for a long day. Defensive backs Emory Polley and Nolan Bernat hope to affect the game in the secondary, but don’t be surprised to see these two former D1 athletes  playing offense and special teams as the Roosters have nothing to loose

LIVESTREAM Finland: Helsinki Roosters @ Kuopio Steelers September 2nd, 17:30 CET, (5:30 pm, 11:30 am ET)

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