10 things to know about FC Buffalo
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • May 21, 2011 @ 1:07pm
The FC Buffalo Blitzers open their NPSL slate on Sunday with a home match against the FC Reading Revolution at 3 p.m. in Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium. If you’re simply too antsy to wait that long, head over to Gecko’s on Hertel tonight for the release of the club’s jerseys and a staggering announcement—trust me, it’s pretty staggering—plus beer, food and ample club personnel. After sitting down with Coach Dan Krzyzanowicz for over an hour yesterday, we’ve listed ten things you should know:
1) Get ready for attack-minded soccer: If you’ve witnessed a Medaille men’s soccer match, you know that Coach K prefers an up-tempo, attacking style. “People want to see goals,” Krzyzanowicz admitted, “and we’d like to give them that.” His Mavericks have finished in D3’s Top 25 in scoring in eight of the last nine years, and he’s helped develop several pros, including Kendal McFayden and Gary Boughton.
2) Formation/strategy: Coach K expects to open in a 4-2-1-3, which sets four players in the back, two defensive midfielders roaming in front of them, one attacking center midfielder orchestrating the offense and three strikers clamoring for goals. An advocate of using the width of the field to his advantage, the Blitzers will look to wear down opposing defenses with relentless forays down the flank.
3) Captains: Andrew Larracuente, an FC Buffalo returnee, and Matt Stedman, a former All-WNY HS player and Niagara University standout, will wear the arm-bands this summer. Krzyzanowicz lauds Larracuente’s experience at the NPSL level and Stedman’s leadership and professional time in Ireland; expect to see a heavy dose of both on Sunday.
4) U.S. Open Cup value: The 1-0 defeat at the hands (feet?) of the Brooklyn Italians wasn’t the result Krzyzanowicz or his short-handed squad desired. Illness, deaths in the family and late college graduations all held players away from Brooklyn, while starting keeper Patrick Regna left the match with a rather gruesome knee laceration. Still, with 13 available players against a perennially elite team, a one-nil loss isn’t too exasperating.
5) Strong Medaille imprint: In filling out the roster, Coach K scoured his coaching database for players he’d recruited in the past, had seen play, or knew of through coaching connections. While several schools, including Cincinnati, Marist, Rutgers, UB, and Penn are represented, six former Medaille players will suit up: Corey Phillips, Jake Reisdorf, Patrick Zelko, Cory Cwiklinski, keeper Craig Yanni and captain Andrew Larracuente.
6) Fitness mindset: The Blitzer skipper has a serious track background, both running and coaching at the collegiate level. While establishing a fast pace is important, Krzyzanowicz (pronounced “Crizz-ann-owe-itch) explained that, in the two opportunities to train with a full team, he’s emphasized a playing style that’s featured quick decisions, simple passes and creativity.
7) Stevens and McFayden absence: When asked how the professional opportunities that stole Dan Stevens and Kendell McFayden away affected the Blitzers, Krzyzanowicz noted that, while the departures hurt, they weren’t unexpected. “I knew both players were using FC Buffalo to further their career, and they’d received professional interest or played professionally in the past,” Coach K said. While McFayden’s sheer pace and Stevens’ immaculate vision will be missed, several other worthy players are ready to see more minutes.
8) Community initiative: There’s a drive around the organization—from ownership to players—for greater levels of community involvement. In addition to the get-together tonight at Gecko’s, there will be more events off-the-pitch to serve as a chance to get to know the players and understand the club’s ambitious vision. Portland Timbers, anyone?
9) Following match: FC Buffalo will play a friendly against the Rochester Rhinos, who were once the “Raging” Rhinos, at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24 at Sahlen’s Stadium. The contest coincides with the Rhinos’ Kids’ Day, so the next Doug Miller or Danny Barber might spill his popcorn on your feet accidentally. Props to anyone who caught the late ‘90s Buffalo Blizzard reference.
10) Mysterious event: Seriously, you should look forward to tonight’s announcement. Hint: it’s a summer event that involves a soccer ball and maybe a few “bloodies” here or there. FC Buffalo COO Scott Frauenhofer would kill me if I ruined the surprised, so that’s all I’ll say.
SWEET CHILD O’MINE