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