BDSL Premier Predictions

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BDSL Premier Predictions

Post  Raider9726 on Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:44 am

We have reached the final prediction installment, the Premier division.  On the surface, it appears we have another fairly loaded division coming in '16, with a few 'super teams' as I'll call them, and then a collection of a half dozen or slightly more really really strong sides.  I'll break down the division in a bit more detail, since our team resides in this division and I feel as if I can talk to it a bit more (realistically):

12. BSC International

Departed: A. Osuch, J. Occhiuto, J. Bauda (BSC Raiders), D. Pelgrin, P. Welker (DSC Buffalo), S. Pannullo (Beast City), S. Barker (Celtic Classic), R. Tylec (Great White Buffalo), E. Herberger (Free Agent).

Added: K. Au, J. Au, J. Smith (Rush FC), N. Holler (Tonawanda United), P. Johnson, D. O'Brien (Lazio), C. Korotkow (SPAL), C. L'Hommedieu, A. Sheikh (Free Agents)

I think the adds here are fairly decent, but nothing that'll blow you away.  Losing A. Osuch and J. Occhiuto are quite possibly the most significant losses to any team in the Premier division this year, and the rest of the league rejoices, considering that the impact those two will have on an already loaded Raiders roster will be minimial, while the impact it has on their former squad could set them up for a one year tour around the Premier division before they get sent packing back to the Championship division.  The one thing I'd caution for any team about ready to face off against BSC International this year is that this team, regardless of who left this year, really prides themselves on the defensive end, giving up a Championship division league low goals against.  They'll still make things difficult this year, perhaps parking the bus big time at times, so I see them stealing some points here and there from teams who, on paper, look much stronger.  The issue though is that I'm not entirely sure where the goals are going to be coming from this year.  Looks like they have some quality midfielders who can keep the ball, but not many players who can punish you with goals. They may struggle to win a game.

11. Roos FC

Departed: C. Beale, V. Chimento, M. Jackson, M. Taylor (East Aurora FC), A. Nati (Rangers), R. Gordon (BUSS), R. Ross (Soho), I. Brown (Celtic United), B. Bartosik (Rogue), S. Scott (Wolfpack), N. Mann (Free Agent)

Added: M. Barth, T. Hicks, A. Pellicano (Boomslang), J. Beshaw, K. Maloney (Celtic Hoops), J. Knapp, D. Weiss (Chelsea), N. Clay (Bantu), P. Sammarco (Free Agent)

I had these guys 10th before I really put this out on paper and took a look at their departures.  Wow.  This team got some really, really nice results last year for almost a two month span, after their week 1 loss to Queenston of course, and I think a lot of it had to do with their depth and specifically their midfield strength.  Now that I see this the way I'm preparing it, Roos could be in some trouble this season, which is a shame because when you have a rival club, although you hope they lose every game, you really don't hope they lose every game, if that makes sense.  I'll be interested to see who runs this team and makes personnel decisions from the sidelines because if the Roos seemed to do one thing well, it was monitoring the substitutions and in game tactics.  I think we're looking at a Norwich City-like team this season.  They'll have to fight really hard defensively to stay up, but it also wouldn't hurt if Reid and Beshaw make a nice little striker connection early on.

10. FC Yemen

Departed: S. Mohsen, Muk. Albakri (FC Yemen II), Abdulr. Mohamed (Yemen Elite), M. Abdi, Mua. Albakri, H. Almontaser, M. Mohsen, A. Mohsin (Free Agents)

Added: Y. Alhadeethi (Buffalo Gunners), O. Boussag (Yemen Elite), J. Villegas (Free agent, formerly of Polonia), A. Alshaebi, W. Noman (Free Agents, the latter of which played for FC Yemen in 2014), H. Alwadi (Free Agent), M. Saif (Free Agent)

You may think I'm crazy that I stick the reigning Tehel Cup champs and Championship division champions here, especially considering the fact that they defeated Soho, Rush, Clarence, Yemen Elite, and Queenston last season in Cup play, all part of the Premier division last year.  But I must keep in mind that these games were played on Thursdays, so likely the best/most ideal lineups weren't present for their opponents in some cases.  Plus, now the problem for FC Yemen is that the grind of the full season with generally more physical teams comes into play.  I don't know if these guys can duplicate their effort from last year over a 3-4 month period.  They certainly have some individual standouts on their roster, but ultimately if this is the same looking club I saw indoors this winter, they may take a minor step backwards.  They're talented enough and work hard enough to steal some points away, but will they play smart enough to protect leads or keep their composure when the going gets tough?  That's a big question.  We'll know more about this club after their first few fixtures in May.

9. Clarence

Departed: M. Brehm, C. Evans, H. Hein, J. Reisdorf, J. Salcedo, E. Schnirel, C. Sprague (Free Agents)

Added: A. Conte (Sharpshooters), K. May (Rush), A. Incho, J. Katz, M. Schroen (Free Agents)

I'm putting these guys in 9th only because of what I saw late last year out of Clarence.  Talent wise, top to bottom, Clarence is a top half of Premier side.  But they seemed to mail it in late last year, and I worry if the same formula takes place this year, especially considering I've heard rumors that they've been close to folding and/or starting a Canisius based side now for a few years (it has never fully materialized though).  So I simply question the drive they have, collectively.  Getting Andrew Incho back is significant though, and I think outside of Schnirel, they didn't lose too many impact players.  Katz is decent enough and Conte will help the outside midfield, so in all, Clarence could have a bounce back season, if they care enough.  If they lose in Week 1 to Roos at home, I'll immediately put Clarence on relegation watch.  However, if they start the season strong, they've got 4th or 5th place aspirations in them.  

8. Rogue FC

Departures: A. Mermigas (BSC Raiders), A. Gibb (Buffalo Blizzard), T. Ricciardi (Depew), P. Schiappa (Great White Buffalo), T. Eister (Lakeside), M. Barth, T. Hicks, A. Pellicano (Roos), S. Barrett (SPAL), P. DiLorenzo, J. Welsh, J. Lombardo, B. Kandefer, M. Peccia (Free Agents)

Added: M. Cancilla, F. Strangio (Meerkats), C. Scirto (Rush), B. Scales (Panthers), B. Graham (SPAL), Z. Schmidt (Lykan), E. Walsh (Celtic United), B. Bartosik (Roos), S. DeFranks, E. Fischer, B. Lanham, N. Perillo, H. Walsh (Free Agents)

There is A LOT of turnover here.  First, losing DiLorenzo and Welch are pretty big losses, but they've made up for it with some really nice adds.  A few of their adds will have FC Buffalo duty, so it remains to be seen if those guys will be a focal part of the roster, or just guys who will show up when they can.  On paper, this is a top 4 club, talent wise.  I'd say it's pretty similar to Celtic United, which we'll talk about soon.  If all these guys do show up, playing time could be a troubling thing - who sits? Who stays on too long?  These are the kind of things that are ironed out well in advance by teams who have had the same nucleus for years.  This team only has 4 original members left of the Sporting Roos club that formed in 2013.  Rogue gets a really nice test week 1.  If they win that game, I've placed them way too low.

7. Queenston FC

Departed: E. Smith (Meerkats), M. Rodrigues, E. Barnes (relocation), N. Dumond (Erie Commodores), S. Horne (injury)

Added: J. Conjerti, G. Hoffman (Celtic United), F. Cotroneo, E. Albrecht (Free agents)

Another year of fairly limited turnover, but some of the losses are back breakers, especially Rodrigues, who I believe was a top 5 midfielder in the entire Premier division last year.  The additions however seemed to have negated the losses overall, so placing our team in 7th seems fair, as it's no different than last year.  I'm not sure yet if we have enough to push for the last playoff spot or not.  It'll likely depend on the availability of the youngsters Brady, Cotroneo and Suitor, who will all be a part of FC Buffalo to some capacity.  We feel as if we have the top keeper in the league, and a strong defense, plus a core of guys who have played together and the same style for years now, as limited turnover to the club has proven to be a pretty significant impact to the team's extended success.  But could I see us have a season where the goals don't come as often as we expected and we take some draws that we had circled initially to be wins, leaving us in a 9th-1oth place finish? Sure.  Do we meet or exceed expectations come season's end when comparing to this point of the year? Yes.  Expect another season where we spread the goals out between 15 different guys.

6. Celtic United

Departed: J. Ballok, A. Filarecki, Ti. Huebsch, J. Hulshoff, N. Kurtz, M. Rhodes, N. Rosart, M. Silverstein, M. Stedman, T. Stefanucci, M. Voigt (Celtic Hoops), J. Conjerti, G. Hoffman (Queenston), E. Walsh (Rogue), B. Daigler (Beast City), B. Cleary (Lykan), J. Taggart (Free Agent)

Added: N. Augustyn, C. Barbolini, S. Carcaterro, M. Gallivan, S. Greene, M. Skrabacz, B. Sorrentino, B. Theuerkauf, D. Warner (Celtic Hoops), T. Kaszubski, P. Schulz, K. Wiatrowski (Soho), I. Brown (Roos), L. Loecher (RVS United), N. Smith, V. DiVirgilio (Free Agents; DiVirgilio has played with the team in past year's before last year's injury)

So this is like an entirely new team.  They actually remind me a lot of Roos FC from the past few seasons: A lot of decent names, many of which I think will play an aesthetically pleasing form of possession soccer, with a handful of guys who can score.  But something just doesn't pan out right.  Maybe it's the mix of whom they get when, attendance, whatever it is.  The Hoops adds are obviously the best pieces they could have pulled from the Championship side, and coupled with the Soho guys and a really nice snag in Loecher, this team I think has top 4 potential, if all things work out well.  I just worry that the Hoops players from a division below could never really punish teams in lower divisions, so will their impact be that substantial one division up?  I cannot wait to see the result of their week 1 game against Soho.  It may tell us a lot about the next few teams' placements, as I seem to wake up each morning with a different opinion about spots 3 through 10.

5. Soho FC

Departed: T. Kaszubski, P. Schulz, K. Wiatrowski (Celtic United), K. Herod, K. Brenner (Free Agents)

Added: N. Griffiths (Lazio), R. Ross (Roos), P. Duerden, N. Szabo (Free Agents)

I'm not making the same mistake as last year.  I thought last year they had dropped a bit in the standings to the point where I had them comfortably out of the playoffs.  I had these guys this year in 8th before reconsidering (To me, Soho, Queenston, Rogue and Celtic United can be placed any which way and none would surprise me).  But I have to remind myself just how effective some of their older core really is.  These guys know how to win regular season games; smart play, sometimes overly physical play, but whatever, it works.  The issue they'll have this year is finding consistent goal scoring out of guys like Hall, Tiedt, Mangano and Ordonez.  If they cannot find the back of the net often enough though, Soho could free fall this season - nothing near the relegation zone, however, but maybe playoff  dreams are shot by early July.

4. Yemen Elite

Departed: Zein Abdulaziz (Bantu), J. Sekyere (BUSS), O. Boussag (FC Yemen), I. Mosed (FC Yemen II), I. Ahmadi (SPAL), S. Acheampong, A. Brobbey, S. Ba (Lakeside FC), J. England, E. Appah, S. Kamara, Ali Mohamed, M. Owusu, Abdikadir Sabtow, J. Ugorji (Free Agents)

Added: M. Chirwa, S. Kassem (Buffalo Gunners), K. Menr, R. Namulala (West Side), J. Akeh (SPAL), C. Griffiths, S. Augustine (Lazio), Abdulr. Mohamed (FC Yemen), A. Rahman, K. Sapon-Amoah, Z. Schlei, J. Etter, A. Albaneh, A. Marecki, C. Holcomb (Free Agents)

Although it looks kind of scary when you think of what Elite lost this past season heading into this year's Summer fixtures, they have gained some extraordinary talent from lower divisions.  Jenaro and Kovan will make an impact - personally, Jenaro I think will end up being more significant than Kovan, but at the very least you'll have to worry about Kovan lurking up top.  Sam Kassem is more useful than given credit for, while Chris Griffiths is almost a perfect fit for this style of offense.  Elite is going through another overhaul, but that's status quo for a new season under Faress' reign.  However, something feels different this time around: almost as if there was more of a purpose to who was picked on this squad.  Their indoor form leading up to the season has been impressive, so I won't stray from that trend. Their backline is sketchy, but they've got A LOT of offense.  I like Yemen Elite to do good things in the summer, but get popped early in Cup play (why? No idea, just a feeling).


Departed: R. Cruz (FC Quake), C. Christie, E. Obunadike (Lakeside FC), A. Ayandele, Y. Guardado, T. Hill, M. Jalloh, M. Raftu, J. Geegba, A. Saysay, A. Toe (Free Agents - the last considering a move to Bantu)

Added: K. Clifford (Depew Village), J. Geegba (Bantu, although he used to be on BUSS last year), R. Gordon (Roos), P. Marlette (Lakeside), J. Sekyere (Yemen Elite), P. Shetler (Celtic Hoops), R. Suazo (played for O35 Aliens last summer), J. Hammer (Beast City), C. Carter, F. Poppolo (Free Agents)

If Faress made smart, tactical moves this offseason, then Bobby C of BUSS made extra smart, extra tactical moves this offseason.  BUSS looks improved from what I've seen in person.  They lost some goal scorers in Guardado and Raftu, but no one likes playing with Raftu so this is almost a gain.  Saysay could be a tough blow, especially if they don't have Ezana for much of the season defensively.  And that's the thing: how fast will this defense link together?  I think their defense is their biggest question mark heading into the new year.  Now, in a league of this magnitude, one would think then BUSS should be much lower in the pecking order if their defense is suspect, but I truly think it won't matter against teams 4 through 10 as much because their midfield is that good.  A few box to box guys in there will perhaps help mask any problem in the backline, and let me just point out that I'm not calling out their defense really here: it's still strong.  I'm just saying if there is a leak in this roster makeup, it'll likely come from there.  If Clifford is in shape, that's not good for opponents' back 3 or 4.

2. BSC Raiders

Departed: R. Arvin, G. Falconer, R. Pikuzinski, I. Mort, M. Stencel, C. Diarra, M. Johnson, D. Panaro (Free Agents, the first playing for the Erie Commodores).  Mort I suspect when healthy will be re-added to the squad.

Added: A. Mermigas (Boomslang), J. Figler (Panthers), A. Johnson (Rush/Lazio), J. Bauda, J. Occhiuto, A. Osuch (BSC International), W. Boerema (Free Agent, but had intended to play with Williamsville Willies this season), K. Asante (Free Agent).

This is going to sound really nit-picky, but I have to be in order to stir the pot, but, does it almost seem like the departures significantly outweigh the adds?  For one, the Raiders have two goalies rostered, both of which are strong, but that kind of stinks for their individual playing time.  I'm very surprised Boerema agreed to play for the Raiders rather than staying put in Willie land <--have fund with this one readers.  Osuch is a fine forward, but will he really get called upon much if Asante and McFayden and Derkacz are all there?  Occhiuto might see some more time, but can he do what Falconer or Pikuzinski did last year for Raiders?  Pound for pound, this is still the BDSL's most talented roster, it's just only 11 guys can play at once.  And unfortunately, the formula has been shown now in two games over the past two months on how to potentially beat this squad: Get in Ryan Walter's head.  Extremely talented, but has now shown twice that he's lost his cool in big games.  I get it, these games don't mean the same thing to everyone, so this could come across as if I'm overreacting to an event that, as a community, we all rally behind, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter, but to see two yellows in one game isn't that bad: it happens and sometimes it's really not even justified.  It's coming back the very next game, getting the start and the confidence in your "coach", only to get shown off before the first half ends that's the troubling part.  That's disappointing.  I saw the quote from Waddington after the game backing his player, which is what you should do, regardless if it's the truth or not, but I'd think doubt has crept into some people's minds within the club.  Hopefully R. Walter isn't a target this summer from opposing teams in the sense that the idea is to get under his skin to the point where you can see a lopsided 11v10 field as a result of a retaliatory tackle.  We shall see.  Raiders however I think are firmly entrenched in the Top 2.

1. Amherst Sharpshooters

Departed: P. Doherty (Southtowns Family Pr ahhhh I hate this team name!!!), T. Jackson (Williamsville Willies), M. McCoy, G. Taylor, T. Lang, J. Garcia, A. Conte, A. Crawford, C. Cary, R. Cicerone (???), all free agents.

Added: R. Martinez, Z. Wood, E. Steinmetz, D. Braun, K. Braun, B. Loncar, T. Fusillo, E. Brodfuehrer (Lazio)

The Sharpshooters have finally merged with Lazio.  Some of these guys have been playing indoor with one another for years.  They move the ball around with ease.  Player by player, they are not as talented as BSC Raiders, but as a collective unit, I think they're more lethal.  If half of these guys and Asani Samuels went 10-0-1 two years ago, then what makes you think this year won't be something similar to that if they've replaced Samuels with Steele + 6-8 other capable scorers?  Not looking forward to a Brodfuehrer/Loncar/Steele/B. Lawler combination up top and in the attacking midfield.  People are quick to forget about Hofschneider or T. Lawler here, but playing along side the names just mentioned, they could easily have 7 or 8 goals coming (apiece!) if just by hustling to the right location when other teams zone in on key players that Amherst has on the ball.  Defensively they're stout too; added the Braun's, both of which are healthy now.  They'll play along side LaFlore and Harris and Wood if they throw a back 4 together as opposed to a back 3.  I simply do not see any holes in this team.  Like the Raiders, they have a realistic shot at a Treble.  I give Amherst the edge because they've played year round together forever, and just this mix of guys and their general youth will beat out Raiders in the end.

3 BUSS defeats 6 Celtic United in OT
5 SoHo FC defeats 4 Yemen Elite

3 BUSS shocks 2 BSC Raiders
1 Amherst Sharpshooters defeat 5 SoHo FC

1 Amherst Sharpshooters defeat 3 BUSS

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