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As pro rumors swirl, McFayden notches brace in 2-1 FC Buffalo win

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

As pre-match rumors circulated that Kendell McFayden was nearing another trial with the USL’s Rochester Rhinos, the Medaille College product didn’t want to deter his suitor. With two goals in the first 18 minutes of Sunday’s match against Greater Binghamton FC, McFayden’s production demands a long look from Jesse Myers’ pro club.

Fueled by McFayden’s early strikes, FC Buffalo carved out its first victory of the 2012 campaign in a 2-1 victory over road-weary Binghamton. The Blitzers improve to 1-1-2, good for third in the National Premier Soccer League’s Midwest-Great Lakes Conference but seven points shy of first-place Detroit City with two games in hand.

“We knew that through the tactical changes we made, we were pushing more guys forward. We came out pretty attacking-minded, pretty aggressive tonight, and one of the key principles we were talking about in the locker room was that we had to get the first goal because it changes the dynamic of the game,” Blitzers head coach Dan Krzyzanowicz said.

Just over 50 seconds in, Mike Reidy—the star of last week’s tie against AFC Cleveland—received a ball near the left touchline close to midfield. In an instant, Reidy sliced inside of his defender and scooted diagonally into space. Recognizing Reidy’s dangerous run, McFayden burst from his right midfield spot into a gap behind Binghamton’s left back—Reidy found him with a low through-ball that McFayden tidily tapped past Binghamton keeper Jeremy Figler.

“We’ve been getting off to real slow starts the past three games,” added McFayden, who played defense, midfield and forward Sunday. “To come out and get a goal in the first two minutes was a big boost.”

FC Buffalo’s offensive fireworks persisted, as the Blitzers tallied again in the 18th. Target striker Alexander Rouse received a pass in stride as he rumbled into the 18-yard box, but he was immediately surrounded by three Binghamton defenders. Spinning quickly through traffic in pseudo-Maradona fashion, Rouse managed to tip the ball to McFayden, hanging unmarked five yards to Rouse’s right. With a clear look at goal, McFayden struck low to the right of a helpless Figler.

“[Rouse]‘s been known to bumble around a little bit and somehow it always seems to end up on his foot, and it kind of just popped out to me,” McFayden said with a chuckle. “I took my time and just found the corner.”

In the 21st minute, Binghamton’s Sergey Molchanovich beat FC Buffalo’s offside trap—despite arm-raising from three Blitzer defenders—on a bouncing through-ball volley from Carmen Bushen, the all-time assist leader at Owego Free Academy just west of Binghamton. With FC Buffalo keeper Brian Wagstaff, the club’s third different keeper in as many games, tentative off his line, Molchanovich popped the ball over the committed keeper’s head.

“I think after we got the second goal we felt like we were going to be able pour it on, and when they got their first that deflated us, took a lot of wind out of our sails,” Krzyzanowicz reflected. “At the same time, it gave [Binghamton] a lot of momentum and got them excited about the game.”

The Blitzers nearly regained the two-goal advantage five minutes later, as a nifty turn and looping through-ball from Josh Faga sprung McFayden in on goal. His shot was left wanting, however, as it skidded outside of Figler’s left post. Aside from that scoring chance, FC Buffalo was suddenly on its heels until halftime.

“We just need to stay a bit more disciplined and composed after we give up a goal,” Krzyzanowicz explained. “We’ve kind of shut down after we’ve conceded goals, and it takes us awhile to get back into it.”

Wagstaff redeemed himself for his own mistake seconds before the conclusion of the first half, as he conceded a rebound in front of his own net on a dipping drive from Molchanovich, but recovered to dive his 6’3 frame at the feet of Matt Kristek to deny a glorious rebound opportunity. 

The second half was increasingly ugly, as the mist turned to steady rain and made the Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium turf quite slick. As play became sloppy, tempers began to rage. Syracuse University midfielder Mawuena Agbossoumonde, who dodged a yellow for a dangerous tackle earlier in the match, earned a straight red in the 50th minute for his violent slide into the back of McFayden’s legs in front of the Blitzer bench.

In the 56th minute, FC Buffalo defender Mbwana Johnson was awarded a yellow for an altercation with Kristek near midfield; composed skipper Gary Boughton pulled Johnson away from further danger, likely preventing a red card.

Fifteen minutes later, McFayden found space down the right wing before swinging in a low early cross; unmarked at the back post, substitute Cory Cwiklinski skied his first-time attempt over the bar from six yards away.

Despite being down a man, Greater Binghamton FC mustered quality chances out of desperation. Molchanovich, the team’s lone attacking threat, was hauled down in the 18-yard box by Mbwana Johnson in the 71’, but the indecisive center official opted against the penalty, much to the chagrin of six bellowing Binghamton players surrounding the referee.

Just beyond the 90 minute mark, a brilliant cross from Greater Binghamton captain Patrick Thompson nearly connected with the head of the omnipresent Molchanovich, but the unmarked striker couldn’t cock his head far enough back for a powerful header.

As the stoppage time dragged on, Binghamton substitute Ermin Corbic delivered an out-swinging free kick that appeared to meet the hand of a Blitzer in the penalty area, but again the shrieks of protest from GBFC fell on deaf ears.

“It’s tough with us because we train two times a week,” McFayden said. “Fitness is the biggest thing. As the game wears on, people get tired legs and the sloppiness comes out a little more.”

Krzyzanowicz called upon four from his bench—midfielders John Grabowski and Cory Cwiklinski as well as strikers Matt Stedman and Andy Tiedt in an attempt to put the game out of reach. With Binghamton keeper Figler pushed up beyond midfield in the 93rd minute, a long clearance sent Stedman in alone on one defender and an empty net from 50 yards away, and Binghamton back Robbie Dickinson cleaned out the FC Buffalo attacker—a second red card on Binghamton. 

Without a fourth official for the match, the referee trio struggled to maintain control—creating an explosive, dangerous atmosphere that could have escalated further than it did.

“It got a little heated,” McFayden admitted. “There wasn’t a lot of mediation going on outside the field.”

FC Buffalo takes on the rival Erie Admirals at 7 p.m. Friday at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium.


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

Greater Binghamton FC: Figler; Craig, Healey, Dickinson, Yatsishin; Bushen, Thompson, Agbossoumonde, Konopatskiy (Aingworth 26’); Molchanovich, Kristek (Corbic 64’).

Cards: Red—Binghamton’s Agbossoumonde (50’), Dickinson (90’+)
Yellow: FC Buffalo’s Ryan Walter, Mbwana Johnson, Gary Boughton, Andy Tiedt

(Photos courtesy of Nate Benson—full gallery here.)

TAGGED: buffalo blitzers, fc buffalo, greater binghamton fc, kendell mcfayden, npsl soccer, soccer

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