Three transactions to announce from week 6:
Andalusia trade Taqi Ahmed and Furhan Azmat to Jerusalem for Hassan Chaudhary and Raza Ali
Sham has Adeel Dosani withdraw for personal reasons; Samarra claim Hassan Syed off waivers and Sham choses Hamza Waheed to take in return
Hejaz has Ahmer Maqsood withdraw for personal reasons; Hejaz is still selecting their replacement
Jerusalem FC vs. Samarra FC (8:45PM on Field 3)
JFC remains one of two undefeated teams but they find themselves squarely in the middle of the standings. The team has already broken the regular season record for draws with 4 ties in their first five games. GM Saqib Dadabhoy hasn’t been happy with the team’s performance and decided to swing a trade. The rookie GM wasted no time to make changes to his squad but the jury is out on whether the trade will solve their issues. Jerusalem brings back Taqi Ahmed and Furhan Azmat to the squad in an attempt to kick start their offense. Taqi is no stranger to the team after playing with them for the first two seasons. He will be trusted with the ball in mid-field and expected to set up Jerusalem strikers. While Furhan returns after his winning it all with the sky blues last year and will be asked to bring his hustle. The squad already has one of the stingiest defences and will be hoping this trade increases their goal tally. Jerusalem face off against Samarra for the first time this week. They will encounter one of the league’s premier offenses and need to score more goals if they want to come away with full points.
Samarra got back to their high scoring ways last week after potting another five goals to run their tally to 22 at the midway point. Khizer Shahzad and Murtaza Tirmizi have scored multiple goals in every match with Danish Khan providing the through balls. All of their victories have been by multiple goals and they hope to continue that trend this week. They have yet to have a full squad and were once again short last week. The Samarrans got a superb goaltending performance last week from Hussam Ayubi which prompted them to make a move. Samarra selected Hassan Syed through waivers to shore up their defence which exposed Hamza Waheed and Umair Ashraf to Sham, Sham eventually ended up taking Hamza Waheed which means Hussam will be the goalie the rest of the way. Hassan Syed provides them a top defender to go along with their killer offense. Samarra face Jerusalem for the first time and will be in for a stern test against their defence. They don’t have a great historical record against JFC but this team has proven they are unlike any previous Samarra squad. Samarra will have additional motivation, with the ability to lock up a playoff spot with full points this week.
Sham FC vs. Anatolia FC (8:45PM on Field 4)
Sham continued their torrid run with another impressive victory last week over Andalusia. Sham have steadily improved every week and have everyone comfortable in their roles at the half way point. While the club continues to improve, they also seem to be losing players every other week. This time Adeel Dosani had to withdraw for personal reasons. Their replacement of Hassan Syed was claimed through waivers by Samarra with Sham selecting Hamza Waheed in return. The club already benefitted from acquisitions shoring up their front line in Erdinc Semsik and Ali Chaudhry, and aim to further deepen their defence this week. Ali Chaudhry continued his goal scoring run for the club with another two last week. GM Muhammad Shah has benefitted from two veteran BSL GMs, Hashim Ghazi and Hassan Chaudhry, in his front office to help him through the salary cap and waiver wire system of Brotherhood – it obviously helps when your GM himself has been to three straight finals and leads the league in career points too, though. The club has been able to find a second gear whenever matches are close and pull away. That was again on display last week in a 1-1 tie before they erupted for five goals in the second half. This week they face off against Anatolia for the first time in what should be an entertaining matchup. Sham have only allowed seven goals thus far with stingy defence and steady keeping from Omer Chaudhry. They will more of the same to keep Anatolia off the scoreboard.
Anatolia come into the second half of the season as the biggest disappointment thus far. After picking up stud defender Nasir Rehman, Anatolia was expected to have found their Big 3. However, injury and absences has brought disappointment and frustration for the Canaries. They are expected to have a full squad this week including GM Zain Khilji as they take on league leaders Sham FC. Anatolia have the firepower and talent to compete with the top clubs but as always their composure lets them down in critical moments. The club is hoping for a breakthrough game from early pick Mohammad Mahmood; MTM has a brilliant right foot but has struggled to find the net of late. If he can find the twine, their offense will add another dimension. Fill-in goalkeeper Riaz Murad has adjusted to his new position in net over the last few weeks after team doctors have ruled out Umair Sheikh putting on the gloves for the remainder of the season. Riaz should know the shot angles pretty well after coaching his son as a goalie in rep hockey. Anatolia get a golden opportunity to prove themselves as a top side against the league leaders. If they can earn full points this week, they will propel themselves into contending for the top two spots.
Hejaz FC vs. Andalusia FC (9:45PM on Field 3)
Los Blancos currently sit in fifth place within striking distance of a playoff spot after taking a point last week against Jerusalem. This week they face off against the only team below them in the standings but a poor performance could find them in the basement. Hejaz made a move of their own, dropping absent player Ahmer Maqsood and we wait for their replacement. GM Ibrahim Sardar has had a difficult time managing the team through adversity but when asked about their upcoming match, he seemed confident the lads were on the verge of breaking the slump. Hejaz has shown individual brilliance on runs by Omar El-Askalany and Muhammad Chabayta but they haven’t been able to find the chemistry to string it all together. With seasoned vets like A K and Usman Aslam, they have all the pieces to compete. If there was ever a time to turn it around, it would be this Sunday. A victory would put them right behind the 4th spot, a tie would mean they will have to do heavy lifting against the league’s best teams while a loss would be disastrous to their playoff hopes
See you at the crossroads, so you won’t be lonely… Andalusia and Hejaz both find themselves at the crossroads of the season. With only one point to show through five games, Andalusia cannot afford to giveaway any points to one of the two teams they are chasing. GM Junaid Mirza recognized the need to change and pulled the trigger on 2 for 2 deal, acquiring Hassan Chaudhary and Raza Ali for Taqi Ahmed and Furhan Azmat. While Taqi is the most talented player in trade, he skill just did not translate to goals, and putting on the jersey where he made his most memorable impacts in the leagues may reignite his form. Andalusia needed a change in formation and decided to bring in two hustle players to replace the ball carrier. Hassan Chaudhary has missed multiple games so Junaid must know something about his availability before pulling off the trade. Raza Ali comes as a reliable goal scorer that played well with Sameer and Humeid a few years ago. The shake up should put the rest of the team on alert that changes will come if results don’t. It all starts this Sunday in an all important match against Hejaz.