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BDSL premier division primer: Week 3

Believe it or not, only two of the 12 Buffalo District Soccer League premier division teams are 1-1 after two weeks.

With three squads at 2-0, and then three at 0-2 (plus a couple ties thrown in for the other teams), there might be less parity than we expected for this coming season. If you're behind, you can look back at the premier results from Week 2, as well as our predictions. (Our soccer-ball shaped orb got three of six correct, for what it's worth).

But it's only two weeks, and while Week 3 doesn't have any colossal tilts planned, there are still decent matches to check out:

*Match of the Week*

Amherst Sharpshooters (2-0) at SoHo FC (1-0-1)
4 p.m. Sunday at Nichols School

Preview: With Regan Steele likely to feature significantly in FC Buffalo's home opener, and defender Drew Braun suffering a shoulder injury in Tehel Cup action Thursday, Sharpshooters may not have their usual firepower this weekend. Are they good enough to still beat SoHo, which ran into a red-hot goalkeeper last week in a 0-0 draw? Probably, but not by a wide margin.

After he got hurt guesting for the BSC Raiders in the USASA Amateur Cup, stalwart defender Jake Rinow has missed the first two games of the BDSL season and remains out of action. Even without the Cornell grad's crunching challenges, SoHo is probably the physically toughest team Sharpshooters will face this year, as Andy Tiedt, Bobby Ross, Austin Tom and Josh Hall all pack a wallop. Still, Amherst are the only team not to allow a goal so far this season.

Prediction: Sharpshooters are just too deep. 2-1 win for Amherst.

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Roos FC (0-2) at FC Yemen (1-0-1)
4 p.m. Sunday at Lackawanna High School

Preview: FC Yemen should not overlook Roos, despite their win-less record. The visitors will gain the services of SUNY Geneseo's Mike Skrzypczyk, who will immediately help the team at both ends, as well as spry Daemen College midfielder Mike Gandt. Josh Beshaw remains out due to injury, while the absence of center back Garrett Rehner will be felt.

Roos keeper Greg Slabyk, who played for FC Yemen in the Werner Fricker Open Cup, faces his former (albeit short-lived) mates.

Perhaps FC Yemen's offense is its best defense, as the amount of pressure they put on other teams, particularly on the counter attack, forces foes to reconsider how many players they commit forward. Abdulqawi Mohamed's battle against Skrzypczyk in the middle of the park -- heck, all over the park -- will be entertaining to watch, as the FC Yemen fulcrum already has five points in two games.

Prediction: Roos cannot quite pull the upset, but do emerge with a point. 3-3 draw.

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Celtic United (0-2) at BSC Raiders (2-0)
4 p.m. Sunday at Nichols

Preview: Nothing like facing SoHo, Sharpshooters and BSC Raiders to open the season for Celtic United. Will they ever field enough numbers to be competitive against premier's top sides (10 in week 1, 12 in week 2)? While they did strike some fear in Amherst -- they were simply unlucky not to score -- United cannot afford to dig themselves too much of a hole. Where will the goals come from? Chris Berardi can't be expected to do it all himself. Maybe Patrick Schulz can pull off the masterful effort of his father, Kurt, from this week's Tehel Cup match.

Raiders kept chugging along with a win that looked a lot more comfortable than it actually was, per reports. Kendell McFayden and Chris Walter's one-game suspensions for FC Buffalo should actually be a boon for their BDSL side, as they'll be fresh for the Sunday matinee.

Casey Derkacz made his season debut for Raiders last week and should have better availability for the rest of the summer; he's used all over the formation, mostly along the team's spine. Former pro Tony Mermigas has been a nice addition in the central midfield.

Prediction: 5-1 Raiders. Maybe there's not that much parity in premier.

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Rogue FC (2-0) at Yemen Elite (0-2)
6 p.m. Sunday at Lackawanna High School

Preview: At some point, Rogue FC are bound to slip-up after flying out of the gates. In Week 2, even without star Hunter Walsh, Taylor Baach and Zack Thomas' team shut out Roos, 3-0, highlighted by a wild, wind-aided goal by striker Joe Fischer.

On short notice, the two managers did a fine job assembling the squad, which is deep in the midfield, versatile up front and overachieving on defense. It's fair to say, though, the Rogue will go as far as the Walsh brothers will take them. [Update, 1:30 p.m., May 15: Evan Walsh will not be available for Sunday's match]

Yemen Elite survived a Thursday Tehel Cup scare, as first division's Williamsville Willies took them to penalty kicks before the favorites advanced. Although it's a win, the result isn't one to instill much confidence in a team that's been leaky defensively and often selfish in the attack. A statement win over Rogue at home could swing the tide on their season, though. What kind of adjustments will YE manager Faress Saleh make?

Prediction: 3-1, Rogue. Elite still without answers.

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Clarence (1-1) at BUSS (1-1)
6 p.m. Sunday at Sahlen's Sports Park

Preview: It will be interesting to see how useful Gary Boughton will be for Clarence after (likely) featuring for the Rochester River Dogz on Saturday, but Thursday's 4-2 win in the Tehel Cup over OP Alliance proved that the Yotes aren't overly reliant on their star. Canisius College grads Andrew Incho, Derek Maier, Ryan Schroen and J.J. Hughes lead the charge, while Tyler Hamill wreaks havoc up front.

Assuming BUSS fields its strongest side -- which is never a given, for them or any other BDSL team -- they should be the favorites in this one. Cory Carter and Kyle Clifford seem like two of the better offseason additions for Bobby Calvaneso's squad, while BUSS' collective pace should be enough to trouble an occasionally stagnant Clarence side.

Prediction: Clifford keeps on rolling, potting a brace in a 3-2 BUSS win.

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BSC International (0-1-1) vs. Queenston (0-1-1)
6 p.m. Sunday at Veteran's Park in Grand Island

Preview: Inter essentially told BN Soccer to "shut up" last Sunday, as keeper Brian Arcara stopped his second penalty in as many weeks to preserve a scoreless draw against favored SoHo. Ross Karipidis' team is in need of goal-scoring, though, as Medaille's Nate Holler and ex-Maverick John L. Smith must find the score sheet sooner than later.

Queenston, which should have a full complement of substitutes for Sunday's home game, boasts its own top goalkeeper in John Netter, plus adds Villanova signing Frank Cotroneo and St. Lawrence University defender-midfielder Ross Suitor for the first time this summer. But can they score?

Prediction: 0-0. No one scores on Arcara and Netter.

Email Ben Tsujimoto, who foresees a nice snowy match on Sunday, at btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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