Micahel Schieber vists the world of D1 were for the first time in a while there isn't a clear cut favorite at the top
1st Division Overview:
When I look at the D1 field this year I see a lot of the same sort of clubs. Gone are the obvious ready to make the jump to Championship clubs of years past, but also gone are the clubs that can’t cut it here too. This 14 team conference has one of the best balances we’ve had in recent memory. And that’s just going to lead to fantastic soccer all year long here. I would also feel compelled to say here that the gap between D1 and D2 has never been smaller as I look at the rosters across the two divisions. There are plenty of talking points this year because of the balance and the lack of favorites so let’s jump into it.
D1 Burning Questions:
So you're saying no favorites at all?
You can make arguments for maybe 5 to 6 teams here if you really wanted to in my estimation. I’ll start with NY Elite who I believe are on pace to equal the runs of teams like Olean, Los Chupacabras, and Pendelton (RIP) as a three for three promotion club. They have a similar roster to that other D2 trophy team in 2019 and while that does not mean a ton of fresh talent it means alot of continuity and chemistry. I think they’ll slide right into the field nicely here in D1. Biggest question for them is how they replace Opacic and his playmaking. You could talk about NMB FC which has made several additions here that beef up the depth they were missing in 2019. More consistent play and options would be a welcome boost for a club that played pretty well in a stacked 2019 D1. You could bring up a smartly upgraded Crimson SPAL FC lineup that has always played well in D1 highlighted by the signing of Witman Hernandez. These three are nice to touch on but there are more quality teams we’ll dive deeper into still to come
What happens when you merge Holland and Italy?
Apparently you get Buffalo Italia FC. I was excited at the prospect here of these two teams combining and thought the resulting mix would be a top club here. While the roster has that I’m not sure the mixture has been a solvent as they had hoped. If they can figure out the chemistry part this team will be dangerous. And while I think they probably are a playoff side, they might be just a year off from being a true favorite to win a trophy just yet.
A lot of chatter about Sahara Gunners coming into the year. What’s all that about?
It's certainly a completely different team than years prior. They were victorious in the Sahlen’s cup and then made the jump to the BDSL Northeast Conference WNY Division. Wait that can’t be right, can it? *checks notes* idk this seems off but i can’t put my finger on it at the moment. At any rate this club thinks pretty highly of themselves already and to be honest they have several reasons too. Sure it's not the same team they hoped to have but there is a lot of top end talent on the roster. This is a club that will come at you in waves offensively with numerous great offensive weapons. Defensively the depth isn’t quiet there for me but all that means is they’ll have plenty of high scoring highlights to post on youtube or instagram or tiktok or whatever.
Should we care at all about any of the Celtics?
If you like middling football then sure. Rumors seem to think that Buffalo Celtic will vastly improved out of all the three but I’m not sold just yet. They have the best new pieces added to the roster. I'll give them credit here. None of the 3 teams do anything particularly bad but nor do they shine in any aspect either. For me all three will be near the bottom of the table.
Is there a team you like to first last?
So here I would agree with Rumors. I think it's Honey Badgers. This team just seems to lack a purpose for me. It's probably because we rarely hear about this team at all from anyone. I’d wager that if you put together a list of BDSL clubs and people in the league had to pick the team that didn't exist Honey Badgers might win going away. Sometimes not having the pressure of the limelight is good but being completely in the dark isn’t good either.
Will Quake break the records for pass in a game crossbars/posts in a game and possession in a game this year?
Impossible because they own all these records already. On a serious note though FC Quake have some major shoes to fill in the departures of their best two players, Matt Clifford and Jonah Kozak. Wait, Liam Muldrig is a big loss too. Yeesh… Actually they might break these records but having them broken against them. It’s definitely a rebuild for FCQ here. They have some good building blocks in their late season swoop on Bryce Butler along steady vet Pat Burke and new keeper Jeremy Kraska.
How did the split leave Polonia Legacy?
I don’t love it if I’m honest. They have some work to do if they want to climb here. I think they’ll be some growing pains as is the case most times teams split into two clubs. They have plenty of seasoned BDSLer’s here that will keep things afloat but I don’t think playoffs are a possibility unless there is a surprise on this roster I don’t know too much about.
Why such the quiet offseason for Delco? Seems unusual for them.
Delco Academy played their cards close to the vest here this year. They made some player poaching claims then it seemed like no info in or out of their camp. It was a well known fact that Delco played on some fine margins last year but had that little bit extra to hold off teams in 1 goal games. D1 isn’t that big of a difference as previously noted though so perhaps they can pull off the same feat. I expect them to be solid in the back and net and if they added a dynamic forward that the roster is crying out for then they’ll be fine but we’ll have to wait and see it seems with them.
Relegation Zone: Honey Badgers, USAB FC, FC Quake
Pretenders: Buffalo Celtic, Celtic 1888, Tonawanda United, Celtic Brigade, Polonia Legacy, Delco Academy
Contenders: Crimson SPAL FC, Sahara Gunners FC, Buffalo Italia, NY Elite
Favorites: NMB FC
1st Division Table
Crimson SPAL FC
Sahara Gunners FC
Buffalo Italia FC
2) Crimson SPAL FC over 7) Buffalo Celtic
3) Sahara Gunners over 6) Delco Academy
4) Buffalo Italia over 5) NY Elite
1) NMB FC over 4) Buffalo Italia
3) Sahara Gunners over 2) Crimson SPAL FC
3) Sahara Gunners over 1) NMB FC