Match Report: FC Buffalo – 1 Greater Binghamton FC – 1

With a shock upset of (now former) division leaders AFC Cleveland on Saturday, Greater Binghamton FC rolled into Buffalo on an overcast Father’s Day afternoon brimming with the confidence of a side that saw a prime opportunity to wash away the trauma of a disastrous first half of their maiden season with a statement win that would put them in pole position for the final spot in the Great Lakes playoffs next month in Erie.

Photo courtesy of Nate Benson Photography

FC Buffalo, reeling from a demoralizing and thorough defeat to Detroit City FC the previous evening were simply looking to stop the bleeding from several weeks of key injuries, suspensions and poor results. The Great Lakes basement battle, however, did nothing but prolong the questions and tension of the final few weeks as the two struggling sides battled to a 1-1 draw at All High Stadium.

GBFC looked the worse for the Saturday night travel wear as Buffalo bossed play early on. A Binghamton defensive gaffe in the middle of the park nearly gave FC Buffalo a dream start as a 2 on 1 opportunity materialized for Gary Boughton and Kendell McFayden. Boughton sprung McFayden forward, however, the reply was lacking as the normally excellent McFayden botched the return pass, rolling harmlessly into the arms of the Binghamton keeper.

The trio of Boughton, McFayden and Mike Reidy performed admirably, but fruitlessly in the next 30 minutes, working to seize control for the home side. Reidy continued to impress with nice runs but both times he was taken off the ball abruptly by the Binghamton backline. McFayden and Boughton attempted more interplay but this time Boughton’s pass to McFayden couldn’t find the mark. Reidy played a brilliant cross into open space, unfortunately no blue shirt was there to finish the play and the score remained even after 35 minutes.

Despite the numerous chances FC Buffalo was able to generate, Binghamton was the first team to light up the All High scoreboard. Mike Spadine was able beat his mark after a nice through ball from Chris Riley to finish past Eric Dehond and take a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute. Another game, another mostly undeserved early deficit for Buffalo; you can almost set your watch to it.

As per usual, McFayden became the man looking to put the team on his back and begin the fight back as he created another chance to net the equalizer. A powerful header went just wide in first half stoppage time, bringing us into the break with Binghamton leading FC Buffalo by a score of 1-0. A feeling of dread swept over the subdued Buffalo partisans as the prospect of being in 5th place within the next hour became frighteningly realistic.

The lone substitution at the half was by FC Buffalo as Josh Hall entered the game on the backline for Jake Rinow. Shortly thereafter we were treated to what was not only the goal of the season for FC Buffalo, but possibly the most spectacular goal scored in the 3 year history of the club.

Mike Reidy, a reliable bright spot for the season so far, went above and beyond on the equalizer scoring a goal that would fit in amongst the best the big European leagues have to offer. Harkening back to Maradona’s run against England in Mexcio ’86, Reidy swerved and weaved his way through at least 5 Binghamton defenders before depositing the ball cleanly into the net to the delight of the enraptured home crowd. This was Reidy’s 3rd goal on the season and 8th total as a Blitzer. His 3 goals currently put him at the top of the Blitzer stat sheet, tied with McFayden.

The balance of the half saw both teams substitute liberally given the overcast but steamy late spring weather. Andy Tiedt and John Grabowski both came off after playing a majority of the minutes in the weekend tilts. Aside from a brief skirmish at midfield after a hard tackle on Ryan Walter which saw yellows handed to both sides, there was little in the way of scoring opportunities. Reidy had one final chance in the 88th minute but was taken off the ball in the box. The referee looked at his watch and called time on an indecisive match.

The result kept both teams even at 6 points on the season and FC Buffalo remaining in 4th based on goal differential with a game in hand. 3 of the 4 remaining games for FC Buffalo will come on the road while the final 3 games for GBFC come on home soil. This includes a massively important return match on July 1st between the 2 sides in Binghamton which could determine who gets the final playoff spot, and who goes home empty handed.

The next FC Buffalo match will be against the hated Erie Admirals this Friday evening, while the home finale comes on Saturday June 30th as they take on Detroit City FC at 7pm at All-High Stadium.

FC Buffalo XI: Dehond, Rinow (Hall 46’), Snelgrove, Zelko (Tor 72’), Grabowski (Lynch 80’), Cwiklinski, Boughton (C. Walter 60’), R. Walter, Reidy, Tiedt (Rouse 69’), McFayden

Report compiled by @jfabin15

Match Report: FC Buffalo – 1 Erie Admirals S.C. – 3

The stories of soccer seasons are written in the ink of patterns and repetition. With half of the 2012 FC Buffalo season completed and only one win to show, there have been several refrains as common as any song from The Situation Room: Shots off the woodwork; Missing the final ball; Good possession play with nothing to show for it, set piece chances wasted…the beat has gone on in frustrating fashion for a club that, for all intents & purposes, should probably have more than just 5 points and a tentative grasp on the final playoff spot in the Great Lakes Division standings.

TSR On Tour….Again

Sunday afternoon continued the Groundhog Day like narrative of familiar ailments as FC Buffalo dropped a 1-3 decision to the same Erie side that won a massively controversial Friday evening match in Buffalo that saw Josiah Snelgrove sent to the hospital with a broken jaw.

The match kicked off in favor of Erie as Buffalo conceded several fouls early deep in their own defensive third. A deflected corner was played back into the box in the 8th minute, falling to the feet of noted Buffalo tormentor, Afrim Latifi who sent a shot past the immobile legs of an FC Buffalo defensive line looking towards the linesman for a goal negating offsides flag.

It was not to come, however, as Latifi wheeled away in celebration to taunt the vocal traveling contingent of around 25 Buffalo fans near the Eastern end of the stadium.

With their lips bloodied, FC Buffalo came back in the 14th minute with a headed effort off of a free kick in the Erie third that just managed to nick the underside of the crossbar. It did not, however, take the fortuitous bounce that the Admirals were privileged to receive earlier in the match.

In the 21st minute, Chris Walter drew a yellow card about 40 yards from the FC Buffalo net. A lofted effort into the box caught FCB keeper Eric DeHond flat footed after he misjudged the flighted pass. Buffalo fans & players looked on in horror as the ball just grazed over DeHond’s outstretched fingers, bouncing lazily into the net and setting off another wild celebration for the Pennsylvanians.

With the deficit multiplied, Buffalo resumed their role as designated game chasers, pressing the issue on the back of brilliant all around play from Kendell McFayden. The Williamsville native was automatic in aerial defense and bombed forward down the left wing, keying off one of Buffalo’s more quality looks toward goal before the halftime whistle.

Wingers Mike Reidy & Gary Boughton looked to be more involved as well, getting touches on the ball and springing attacking moves forward as the interval drew closer. Penetrating runs towards opposition full backs have been in plentiful supply this year, yet final passes into the area and decisive play in the opponent’s 18 has been lacking.

With the departure of Mike Unwin to the PDL, it’s evident so far this season that the lack of a true center forward able to hold up play and power through central defenses has been the undoing of Buffalo’s finishing prowess.

Coming out of the dressing rooms for the second half, Buffalo drew an early corner yet the effort went over the bar. Coming back up the pitch, Erie put a bow on the match with a demoralizing 49th minute marker as a run down the right wing was played into Shane Howard who calmly volleyed the opportunity into the Buffalo goal, unmarked.

Desperate for a spark, McFayden was pushed up to center forward, becoming a dangerous option for Buffalo as he drew the attention of nearly the entire Erie defensive corps at times. His activity was rewarded in the 65th minute as an Erie defender tugged on his shirt a bit too liberally in the area during a free kick, leading the referee to point to the spot and a chance for Buffalo to possibly salvage a point.

Captain Gary Boughton stepped up to take but over thought his strike as he opted for placement rather than power. The soft attempt grazed the outside of the left post as it dribbled harmlessly out of play, keeping the score at 1-3.

Nursing multiple knocks and a shaken psyche, Boughton was subbed off soon after as Ordonez was brought on. Buffalo finally made a breakthrough in the 73rd minute as Andy Tiedt connected on a Mike Reidy corner, cleanly beating his mark and giving the away side some semblance of hope going into the final 15 minutes as the traveling Buffalo supporters roared their approval.

The dramatic fight back was not to be, however, as the Buffalo goal concluded the scoring on the afternoon – Erie proceeded to take the proverbial air out of the ball as legs on both sides grew heavy in the afternoon heat. A late McFayden break away on goal was placed to the right of the post as the referee called time on a frustrating afternoon for the Western New Yorkers.

The loss leaves Buffalo in 4th place in the Great Lakes Conference; 5 points behind Erie with one more match played than their I-90 rivals. Things do not get easier as a trip to a raucous Cass Tech Stadium for a match against 2nd place Detroit City FC looms this Saturday. Buffalo will have to be sharp as Sunday offers an absolutely vital turnaround match against 5th place Binghamton in a Father’s Day matinee. A loss to the Great Lakes bottom feeders would tie them with FC Buffalo and put the prospects of playoffs in serious jeopardy.

FC Buffalo XI: Dehond (Wagstaff 46’); Schroen, Hall, McFayden, Tor; C. Walter (Carcaterro 83’), Reidy, Cwiklinski (Scirto 73’), Tiedt, Boughton (Ordonez 67’); Rouse (Grabowski 46’)

Great Lakes Conference Standings as of 6/10

Midwest-Great Lakes Conference Pts GP W T L GF GA GD
1. AFC Cleveland 13 7 3 4 0 16 10 6
2. Detroit City FC 12 7 3 3 1 14 4 10
3. Erie Admirals 10 5 3 1 1 12 6 6
4. FC Buffalo 5 6 1 2 3 8 14 -6
5. Greater Binghamton FC 2 7 0 2 5 3 19 -16
Report compiled by Russ Andolina: @rjandolina

Match Report: FC Buffalo – 2 Greater Binghamton FC – 1

A gloomy day in Buffalo saw a road weary Greater Binghamton FC venture into All High Stadium on Sunday coming off a demoralizing 0-4 loss to Detroit. A fresh and motivated Buffalo side would prove their undoing as a hotly contested match ended 2-1 in favor of the Western New Yorkers.

Fans were still filing into the stands when FC Buffalo struck early. Mike Reidy displayed fantastic footwork through a maze of defenders keeping the ball on a string before dishing a beautiful through ball to Kendell McFayden. McFayden made no mistake and placed the home side up 1-0 in the 1st minute.

Buffalo continued to dominate play, as well as set piece opportunities through the first 20 minutes. The proceedings remained lopsided as Blitzer defenders played neatly in the back and the midfielders controlled possession in a way they were unable to against Cleveland the previous week. Mike Reidy was exceptional, making an impact over seemingly the entire field.

FC Buffalo extended their lead in the 18th minute as it was Alex Rouse’s turn to dazzle the crowd. Rouse danced in between the GBFC backline before laying the ball off to McFayden who, again the beneficiary of an electrifying individual effort from a teammate, completed his brace.

The rout, however, was not on as Binghamton answered right back in the 21st minute with Sergey Molchanovich slotting past Buffalo keeper Brian Wagstaff as Camden Bushen was credited with the helper. Some rumblings bounced around the stands that offsides should have been called but the flag stayed down and Binghamton found a reason to not mail in another road disaster.

In the 26th minute, McFayden had his chance to complete his hat trick. A nice setup by Josh Faga sent McFayden in and floated the ball over the GK’s head but the shot landed just wide of the net. Unlucky but doubtful to deter interest from USL Side Rochester Rhinos.

Play see-sawed for the remainder of the 1st half as Binghantom tried to seize control through counters, while FC Buffalo looked like they were content to sit on the lead they built. Complacency nearly cost Buffalo the lead as Wagstaff made several brilliant saves before the interval to preserve the advantage.

A brief rain storm hit the area during the halftime break, making the turfed grounds of All High slick and slippery, setting the stage for sloppy and disjointed play in the 2nd half.

The rough stuff began early as Mawuena Agbossoumonde was sent off after a straight red card for an extremely hard foul on McFayden 50 minutes in. A very careless challenge would force GBFC to play a man down for the final 40 minutes plus added time. Tempers flared at midfield again in the 54th as Mbwana Johnson was handed a yellow card after being involved in a shoving match with a group of Binghamton players. The referee exercised wise discretion as more cautions and even ejections could’ve very easily resulted from this episode of handbags.

Binghamton received a glorious opportunity in the 81st minute to level as Sergey Molchanovich threatened once more and was hauled down just outside the penalty area. As the rain fell even harder, GBFC pleaded to the official for a penalty but the protests fell on deaf ears as a direct kick was awarded on the edge of the area.

As we entered in what felt like 15 minutes of stoppage time, FC Buffalo had The Situation Room anxiously longing for the final whistle as Binghamton would not say die, being so close to an elusive road point. As the Binghamton keeper ran up to help net the equalizer, Patrick Thompson nearly evened the score for GBFC with a header a few yards out that couldn’t find the back of the net.

A second red card was handed to Binghamton defender Robbie Dickinson late in stoppage time with a desperation tackle as FC Buffalo looked to ice the match with a 3rd goal.

FC Buffalo comes out with a much needed win that brings their record to 1-1-2 with games in hand on Cleveland & Detroit. While a new rivalry may have been born Sunday afternoon, the Blitzer’s arch-nemesis comes to town Friday evening at 7pm as they host the Erie Admirals in what is sure to be a raucous and venomous atmosphere.

FC Buffalo XI: Wagstaff; Hall, Johnson (Stedman 77’), Snelgrove, Zelko; R. Walter, Boughton (Tiedt 73’), Faga, Reidy (Grabowski 89’), McFayden; Rouse (Cwiklinski 67’)

Match report complied by Jeff Fabin – @jfabin15


USMNT v. Brazil – Match Day Preview

Thinking about the US lineup for tonight’s match against Brazil, we tweeted earlier this morning that a similar, Christmas tree style 4-3-3 run out that we saw on Saturday would be suicide against a young Brazil team that makes a living of exploiting space on the wing and punishing teams foolish enough to go shot for shot when it comes to forward movement.

The rationale being, we’d probably see something similar to the 4-4-1-1 that stole a historic victory from Genoa this past leap day.  That lineup in theory is a more prudent option if you’re expecting high pressure and prolonged periods of defending like we’ll see tonight from the Selecao.

However, Klinsmann has shown himself to be nothing if not practical in terms of fitting the system to the players and not vice versa.  While the 4-3-3 is his national vision, he’s a smart enough manager to not mortgage the present for a future that may be a decade off.

In Italy, he had access to Clint Dempsey & Jozy Altidore – two players able to produce quality hold up play and possession in the attacking third.  If a 4-4-1-1 is used tonight, with access to neither of the aforementioned two to start (based on reports this week), his starting forward pair would likely be Boyd/Gomez.  Admirable players in their own right but not two you’d expect to keep sustained pressure against a much better back line than what we saw in Scotland on Saturday.

Not to mention, gambling on a 2nd/3rd choice striking pair means mortgaging one of Saturday’s excellent midfield players that’ll desperately be needed tonight to shield the back line and disrupt Brazilian attacking play through the middle and the wings.  Opening up space in the midfield isn’t the best idea for tonight, to say the least.

So here’s what we’re expecting to see get run out for the Stars & Stripes:

Notes & Sundry

- Two big reasons the offensive explosion against Scotland was as big as it was was the fact that Jermaine Jones and, in particular, Michael Bradley were freed from their Bradley era “empty bucket” holding midfield responsibilities and were put in a position where their full skill set was taken advantage of.

- With the play likely to be dictated to the US tonight, look for those two to sit back closer to destroyer Maurice Edu.  Bradley will have more license to go forward and fill in on the right side of midfield in the “central winger” role.

- Dempsey has confirmed via twitter he’ll be seeing action tonight.  Almost assuredly in the 2nd half as a substitute.

- Fabian Johnson was impressive going forward as a wing back against Scotland – we won’t see him pushing as far up against Brazil but he’ll be the most active defender in the attack with Steve Cherundolo more than likely filling in on spot duty when gaps open up.

That’s all for now.  If you’re in the Buffalo area, go watch the game with the local AO Chapter at The Library in Amherst.  

In Towards McBride Interview Series: 10 Questions with Bobby Shuttleworth

Buffalo isn’t what you’d call a footballing hot bed compared to other locales like North Jersey or the Inland Empire in Southern California….places that have yielded huge chunks of past and present USMNT pools.  We, uh…..have not.

However, there are exceptions to all rules and Bobby Shuttleworth is ours – the 25 year old Nichols grad has been with the New England Revolution since 2009, serving as understudy for league legend Matt Reis.  Bobby was kind enough to sit down between training and games to answer a few questions about his time in Foxboro, Buffalo and whether or not he’s hatching a dastardly plot to sabotage the Patriots.

ITM: To our knowledge, you’re the first Buffalo native to play in MLS. Is there a sense of pride that comes with being essentially the most high profile professional soccer player from Buffalo since the Pikuzinski brothers?

Bobby: I don’t know about high profile but I definitely take pride from where I come from and the soccer in Buffalo. My family had season tickets to the Blizzard games and we were big fans. I try to represent the soccer in the city as best I can.

ITM: Buffalo isn’t an overly soccer saturated town – how did you find and fall in love with the game?

Bobby: I started playing when I was about five years old, played travel until about thirteen, and then premier with then with Buffalo City until college. My mom saw that I enjoyed playing so she bought tickets to Blizzard games and occasionally Rhinos games as well.  I just continued to play and hopefully can for a lot longer.

ITM: You came on board with New England in 2009 after impressing with Austin during a friendly against the Revs. Can you take us through the process of how that happened: coming in as a trialist for a lower division club to getting a contract offer from an MLS team?

Bobby: I never really played with Austin. I signed there strictly in order to play for the Revs and move away from the college game.

I trained with the Revs for about a week and they were looking for a third keeper so it worked out for me.

ITM: Steve Nicol stepped down from managing New England late last year – longtime Revs defender Jay Heaps stepped in and brought a new, some would say, more attacking philosophy. How do you compare and contrast the two managers and their approach to the game?

Bobby: I loved playing for Stevie my first three seasons. He really allowed for me to come along and showed a lot of trust in me which I will always be grateful for.

I played with Jay my first season so it’s definitely a different feel. I think there are some things that with Jay, having played for Stevie for so long, have remained the same. The environment around the locker room is pretty similar in terms of allowing the players to have a good time and keep things light when they need to be.

Soccer wise we are a much more possession orientated team.

ITM: Matt Reis has been one of the best and most consistent keepers in MLS for nearly a decade now. Serving as a backup to him seems to be a double edged sword – it’s unlikely he’ll lose form anytime soon but you’re learning from one of the best. What have you learned and picked up on in the time you’ve spent with him?

Bobby: I can’t say how easy and enjoyable it is to work with Matt. He has really tried to help me from day one, which isn’t something he has to do with younger guys.

Also I have learned alot from some of the other goalies we have had here, and our goalie coach Remi Roy

ITM: Your high school career at Nichols was very successful, winning multiple state titles, earning regional honors, etc. Your college career at UB & Loyola were also successful – out of curiosity to how the Buffalo area is scouted for national team prospects, were you ever contacted/scouted by youth national team coaches in your career before joining New England?

Bobby: I never was contacted or reached out to or anything like that.  Buffalo, and Upstate New York in general doesn’t have the best rep, which is too bad because there are some fantastic players in the area.

ITM: Have you been keeping any tabs on FC Buffalo and the growth of soccer culture (new soccer bar on Hertel, recently formed American Outlaws chapter, etc…) in Western New York?

Bobby: I played for Buffalo City FC  before coming to the Revs so I saw that developing a little. I do see how FC Buffalo is doing occasionally as I know some of the guys on the team and I’m always curious about the soccer scene in Buffalo.

ITM: A dedicated stadium for the Revolution has been at the top of many a New England fan’s wish list ever since the move to Gillette Stadium over a decade ago. Some rays of hope have formed recently with rumors of potential stadium sites being scouted in Somerville & Revere, MA. How important do you think a ground the Revs (and only the Revs) can call home is to the future of the team in Boston?

Bobby: With the way MLS has developed I think it’s absolutely vital. Soccer in Boston is big, and I saw that during the last World Cup. I think a soccer specific stadium will bring the Revs to a new level.

ITM: What player on the Revolution (besides Matt Reis) are you most impressed with and why?

Bobby: It’s hard not to be impressed with the majority of players at this level.  We have some truly talented players who can really play. Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber are great players who have accomplished a lot of great things.

ITM: Level with us: how hard is it to resist putting spoiled milk in Tom Brady’s locker?

Bobby: Ha ha, it’s not easy being a Bills fan in Boston and especially in Gillette but you have to stick with your team.

Manny thanks to Bobby for his time.  Follow him on twitter at @b_shuttle

From Verona with Love: Michael Bradley’s Game vs. Scotland

Video

With so many wonderful things happening on Saturday night against Scotland, we decided we wanted to highlight one positive in particular.

While the press clippings and attention have predictably gravitated towards Donovan’s hat trick and ironic masterclass performance in the wake of his retirement talk, Michael Bradley is deserving of at LEAST equal praise in our eyes.

In lieu of long winded gushing in the form of an article we figured we’d let this wonderfully edited video from 723 Football Films do the talking for us.

Watch as the ball gravitates to Bradley on almost every US possession – observe the calmness in tight quarters as he finds teammates in space. Oh, and he scores a pretty nice goal, too we guess…

Landon Donovan will sell lots and lots of replica shirts but if the US wants to have any hopes of making it past the Round of 16 in Brazil in two years, they’ll be doing so on the broad shoulders of one Michael Bradley.

Match Report – FC Buffalo: 2 AFC Cleveland: 2

With both Detroit and Cleveland extending their undefeated records over the third weekend of Great Lakes Division play, Sunday afternoon’s return match with AFC Cleveland at Robert E. Rich All High Stadium proved a pivotal early season test and opportunity for FC Buffalo to keep pace with their Rust Belt Cup brethren.

Photo courtesy of Nate Benson Photography

However, all three points were not to be as the two respective slices of bread in the Erie sandwich (it tastes awful, if you’re wondering) played a match that featured everything but a decisive winner.  Hard tackles, questionable refereeing, smashed shots off the wood work and last minute goal mouth scrambles entertained a lively holiday weekend crowd in Buffalo as the I-90 rivals shared the spoils when the final whistle blew.

The game kicked off in Cleveland’s favor as the Ohioans bossed possession for a majority of the opening 10 minutes.  FC Buffalo’s attempts to build out of the back on won challenges went begging as midfield cohesion and play through the middle was negated by Cleveland early on.

Vinny Bell, a goal scorer in the first match played in Cleveland, tormented the right side of the Buffalo defense with a potent mixture of speed, power and intelligence.

While Bell was impressive, Kendell McFayden was equally up to the task as the journeyman defender went about his business effectively, matching Bell physically but not conceding a penalty or a dangerous free kick in or around the Buffalo area.

The momentum swung back into the home side’s favor as the half wore on but Cleveland was the first to strike against the run of play in the 41st minute as the danger man Bell was sent through on a quality through ball from the Cleveland midfield.

The Buffalo defense, looking to maintain a higher line, held their ground and looked to the linesman for a raised flag but none came as the Cleveland forward appeared to be a couple steps in front of the Buffalo defense before completing his run.  In on goal alone, Bell slotted home comfortably and gave the visitors the lead going into the half.

With Buffalo having contemplated the disastrous reality of a home loss to Cleveland during the half time team talk, the two sides came out swinging (for lack of a better term) in the second half with Derek Maier delivering a tone setting foul in the 46th minute.  Tommy Schmitt from Cleveland presented a few dangerous opportunities for the Royals early on as FC Buffalo made a triple substitution in the 49th minute, bringing on Zelko, Spurrier & Schmidt.

Gary Boughton & Alex Rouse added a dimension of promising wing play for Buffalo going forward but lacked the final pass with the center of the Cleveland defense staying compact and efficient.  Match tempo increased with both sides capitalizing off of stray passes in the midfield, resulting in end to end play and several “nearly” moments.

The Buffalo breakthrough came in the 60th minute as Mike Reidy found space in front of the AFC Cleveland back four and sent in Alex Rouse to calmly equalize past Yabrow.  This goal spurred the visitors onto improved play as the next 10 minutes were dominated by Cleveland, showing increased tempo that resulted in several goal mouth scrambles and a venomous volley from Schmitt that went inches wide.

Complications arose for Buffalo in the 69th minute as defensive mainstay Jake Rinow was injured and assisted off the field.  Fan favorite Mbwana Johnson was subbed in for the wounded defender a few minutes later and filled in admirably as a full back on the right side of the defense for the duration of the match.

Cleveland looked to steal an invaluable three points on the road as Tyler Johnston headed home in the 82nd minute off of a period of sustained Cleveland possession that was placed to the left of FC Buffalo net minder Eric DeHond.

The plot thickened in the 85th as Cleveland’s Alex Behader was sent off after a rough challenge in the Buffalo area, resulting in his second yellow of the match.  Tempers flared further and Mbwana Johnson also picked up a caution as Behader left the pitch.

FC Buffalo made the final minutes fascinating as Mike Reidy found the ball at his feet in the Cleveland area after an inswinging cross ping ponged about to allow the eventual man of the match to slalom around several Cleveland defenders and blast the second equalizing goal home, sending the Buffalo crowd into raptures.

Wild sequences followed into stoppage time as Buffalo buzzed about the Cleveland third, coming within inches of a story book last minute winner.  A 90th minute free header was parried away by Yabrow, only to fall to the feet of Buffalo who smashed the second opportunity off the far post.  A final Buffalo corner was poorly played and cleared away, bringing the referee’s whistle and the end of the match.

With an Erie thrashing of Binghamton later that evening, the result leaves Buffalo in 4th place in the division and last in the Rust Belt Cup standings.  While there is still much more football to play this summer, next week’s home fixture against the inept Greater Binghamton FC is worthy of the “must win” label as any game this season insofar.

FC Buffalo: DeHond; Hall (Grabowski 79’), McFayden, Snelgrove, Rinow (Johnson 69’); Reidy, Faga, Stedman (Cwiklinski 57’); Tiedt (Zelko 46’), Rouse (Tor 83’)

AFC Cleveland: Yabrow; Cutler, Winters, Spilker (Manna 62’), Earnest (Spagnolo 75’); Poe, Matlock (Spurrier 46’), Vail (Johnston 79’), Holowaty; Miller (Schmitt 46’), Bell (Bahadur 67’)

Match report compiled by Russ Andolina - @rjandolina