FC Buffalo came into Friday night’s match against AFC Cleveland hobbled not by injuries but by a slate of college graduations for many of their starting players. Back liners Kendell McFayden, Pat Zelko and Josh Hall were all out as well as forward Alex Rouse. The omissions proved to be too much to overcome as the Buffalonians dropped the second match of the young season in a decisive 4-2 loss.
AFC Cleveland dominated play early on and kept high pressure on goalkeeper Jordan DiLapo and the new look FC Buffalo defense. Despite strong play from Andy Tiedt and Gary Boughton, FC Buffalo did little to sustain any offensive pressure.
AFC Cleveland nearly capitalized on a miscue by DiLapo as the FC Buffalo keeper was caught out of position on a throw in, but was able to recover in time to keep the score even.
Sloppy play continued for the visiting club in the 41st minute as John Grabowski was called for a foul in the box, gifting a penalty to AFC Cleveland. To the delight of the home crowd, Cleveland striker Vinny Bell was able to slot home and put the Ohio side up 1-0.
The score remained 1-0 as the teams retired to their respective rooms for the half. In an effort to turn the tide of play, Buffalo used 2 substitutes to start the second 45 as Ordonez came in for Ventura & Scirto in for Snelgrove as FCB gambled on a change in tone to try and bring at least a point back to All High Stadium.
The moves appeared to pay off as Ordonez generated an early chance in the 50th minute, but his strike sailed a bit high.
A breakthrough finally came in the 56th when Andy Tiedt was hauled down in the penalty area and the officials awarded a penalty to FC Buffalo. Mike Reidy took advantage and evened the score at 1-1.
The joy was to be short lived. Cleveland answered 3 minutes later as Dennis Holowaty put one past DiLapo in the 60th to go up 2-1. The action didn’t stop there as Dean Miller added another goal for Cleveland and put the home team in pole position for all three points at 3-1.
Andy Tiedt attempted to cut the deficit back to 1 but in what seems to a theme early on this season, his strike found the woodwork rather than the twine.
Pressure continued for AFC Cleveland as CJ Scirto went down with a knee injury in the 69th minute. Dean Miller and Tyler Johnston attempted to put the nail in the coffin but their chances went begging as FC Buffalo remained in it with a half a chance.
Gary Boughton gave FC Buffalo some life late as he put one past Ben Yabrow at the 86th minute mark and brought Buffalo to within one.
Any further hope was extinguished as Ruairidh Winters put Cleveland back in control of a 2 goal lead in the 89th minute. This would conclude the scoring and, in turn, the match.
The loss drops FC Buffalo to 0-1-1 early on this season. Play by Tiedt, Reidy and Boughton kept Buffalo in the game but missing 4 starters from last week including including 3 crucial defenders ultimately proved the Blitzer’s undoing.
FC Buffalo returns home to face the same AFC Cleveland squad on 5/27 at 3pm at All-High Stadium.
FC Buffalo Starters: GK Dilapo, D – Lill, Tor, Grabowski, Snelgrove, M – Stedman, Boughton, Ventura, Reidy, Faga, F – Tiedt
Special thanks to AFC Cleveland for providing webcast coverage of this match.
Report compiled by Jeff Fabin