Sunday’s letter perfect May weather was versatile – setting a beautiful stage for Mothers Day, an EPL finish for the ages and the kickoff of FC Buffalo’s 3rd season in Buffalo’s Central Park neighborhood against NPSL newcomers Detroit City FC. Buffalo fans marched to All High, adding to the fanfare and anticipation to what should be a seminal year for the Beautiful Game in Buffalo.
Detroit City looked strong from the start even though they were coming off a 1-1 draw vs. AFC Cleveland the night before along with the accompanying travel. A bad giveaway in the 8th minute almost led to a DCFC goal but a shot wide killed those chances. Other than the strong play from Andy Tiedt, FC Buffalo didn’t have much to show in the first few minutes of 2012.
Weathering the first quarter of an hour, the tide started to turn FC Buffalo’s way. A corner kick led to a great scoring chance, but Josiah Snelgrove’s header hit the woodwork and a few minutes later a Matt Steadman opportunity off a goal kick couldn’t find the back of the net and the score remained 0-0.
FC Buffalo continued to control play the latter part of the 1st half over the road weary Detroit club. FCB attacking play kept the pressure on and the best scoring chance of the half for the home squad once again rang off of the post.
Detroit City did manage to find a bit of an offensive spark towards the end of the 1st but FC Buffalo goalkeeper Eric Dehond came up with a big save in the 41st minute and kept the score even.
Just before the end of the half, tempers flared and a skirmish led to a yellow card on the visitors and free kick for FC Buffalo. Despite their best efforts and some nice play by newly signed Kendell McFayden, both teams retired to their dressing rooms knotted at 0-0.
The second half started off a bit sloppy as McFayden received a caution as Detroit started off very strong. It didn’t take long though before another one of FCB’s newest signings, Alex Rouse, showed the home fans a preview of the attacking verve and acumen he has demonstrated during his prolific college career. Rouse created 2 excellent chances, but still had nothing to show for and the game marched on scoreless.
Second half activity remained quiet most of the way with both clubs not generating many offensive chances or wanting to venture forward in fear of exposing gaps in their respective back lines. FC Buffalo midfielder Mike Reidy tried to establish a passing rhythm in the center of the park, but little came of it and we remained even.
The tempo increased in the final 10 minutes of play and both teams appeared very interested in collecting all 3 points in the inaugural match of the Rust Belt Derby. Play see-sawed back and forth as both sides went for broke to gain an early foothold in the Great Lakes Division. FC Buffalo had an apparent winner but was waived off due to a controversial offside call in the 89th minute. The home crowd loudly voiced their displeasure with the call on the field, but the officials remained adamant in their decision.
Gary Boughton had a chance to win it in stoppage time after another yellow card on Detroit City, but once again the Detroit keeper ended this chance and the game ended at a 0-0 draw.
While the match didn’t end with the 3 points, gaining a draw against a very good Detroit squad made for a successful night. McFayden and Rouse proved tonight why they were signed this offseason. Their play tonight should only improve as they gel with veterans such as Andy Tiedt and Matt Stedman.
FC Buffalo continues their season in Cleveland on 5/18 at 7pm. The team returns home on 5/27 to take on AFC Cleveland once again at 3pm at All-High Stadium.
FC Buffalo lineup: DeHond; Zelko, Snelgrove, McFayden, Hall; Reidy, Stedman (Grabowski 75’), Faga, Boughton; Rouse, Tiedt (Cwiklinski 68’).
Report compiled by Jeff Fabin – @jfabin15