RECAP: WEEKEND FINNISH ACTION
Etchu Tabe had a busy weekend for RoPS, helping them to a shut-out win on Friday then scoring the equalizing goal in their Monday-night game against IFK Mariehamn and its stable of Americans.
RoPS 1 - 0 FF Jaro Pietarsaari
Etchu Table and RoPS got off to a roaring start in Veikkausliiga play on Friday evening, riding an early goal to a shut-out victory over Jaro Pietarsaari
RoPS netted the game's only goal after 12 minutes when team captain Tuomo Könöne sent a free kick into Jaro's penalty area which German defender Thomas Götzl rose high to head into goal for the 1-0 lead.
The attack never really clicked for the hosts, however a strong defense, with Table anchoring the middle allowed them to hang tight for the 1-0 victory.
IFK Mariehamn 3 - 3 RoPS
The battle of the Yanks in the Finnish top division ended a stalemate on Monday, with Etchu Tabe pulling RoPS even in the 90th minute on their trip to IFK Mariehamn.
Josh Wicks and Mason Trafford both played the full 90 minutes for Mariehamn, while Giuseppe Funicello was not included in the team's gameday roster.
RoPS jumped ahead midway through the first half when Jose Manuel Rivera was played free into IFK's penalty area at the tail-end of a counter, and nailed his 11-yard shot leaving Wicks no chance.
The scoreline held through the half, until the hosts equalized then took the lead just past the hour mark. Toni Lehtinen slid through the defense and buried a shot in the right corner to pull the team even in the 61st minute, then Pettreri Forssell gave them the lead five minutes later with a strike from the edge of the area.
RoPS then pulled the game back on even terms in the 69th minute as Rivera connected from the spot, then Mariehamn returned the favor with Forssell netting his second of the game on a spot kick three minutes later after Aleksei Kangaskolkka was pulled down by RoPS keeper Alex Nyom.
Mariehamn looked headed for the win, until RoPS substitute Mika Gröhn set up Tabe for a strike which flew past his countryman Wicks in the 89th minute to give each team a share of the points in the exciting 3-3 draw.
The result sees RoPS and Mariehamn in the midst of a five-way tie for second place with four points after two games played in the season.
RoPS will will host JJK Jyväskylä on Thursday while Mariehamn will visit Haka Valkeakoski on Friday afternoon.
PS Kemi Kings 2 - 2 JIPPO Joensuu
Dan Stevens was in Kemi Kings' starting lineup on Saturday afternoon, playing the first 85 minutes as they gave up a two-goal lead and were forced to settle for a draw against visiting JIPPO Joensuu.
PS Kemi grabbed an early lead in the ninth minute thanks to a stunning 22-yard free kick by Tuomas Tyystälä, then looked headed for their first victory of the season as Aleksi Räihä struck to make it 2-0 in the 49th minute.
JIPPO pulled one back in the 67th minute when midfielder Eetu Koistiselle flicked a free kick by Tarmo Koivuranta to the edge of the penalty area, which former Sierra Leone youth international John Keister put away for 2-1.
They finally secured the draw in the final seconds when PS Kemi keeper Sami Mäkipörhölä blocked a shot directly into the path of JIPPO defender Hans Ekroos, who put it away for the dramatic equalizer.
Kemi climb to ninth place in the Ykkönen standings with a single point from two games, and will have a long break until their next league game on May 21 when they visit HIFK.
Kokkola PV 1 - 1 AC Oulu
Jeremy Vuolo went the distance in AC Oulu's goal on Sunday, as the team was unable to hang onto an early lead and shared the points with Kokkola PV.
Oulu took an early lead thanks to a 13th-minute strike from Dritan Stafsula, and defended their advantage well until KPV pulled even midway through the second half.
A corner by KPV was initially cleared out of the box, but landed at the feet of Olli Pekka Itälä, who slid it over to Ville Luokkala for a blast which left the American keeper no chance for the save.
The result leaves Oulu in eighth place with one point from one game played, and they will look to add to their total on Sunday on their visit to winless Porin Palloilijat.
Kellan Wilson and HIFK had the weekend off and won't take the field again until next Monday when they visit FC KooTeePee.