FC Buffalo blitzed by Detroit City in home finale
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • July 01, 2012 @ 1:25am
When a coach refers to a team’s performance as “piss poor,” there are obvious problems.
FC Buffalo dropped a 4-0 decision to Detroit City FC in the final home match of the NPSL season for the Blitzers, and the game simply wasn’t close. Le Rouge built a three-goal lead by the 37th minute and put on cruise control in a rather easy second half.
Four Blitzers started at home for the first time this season: goalie Kareem Gray and midfielders C.J. Scirto, Pablo Ordonez and Peter Duerden. While this inexperience could have been masked against a lesser opponent, the weakness was glaring against a deep, dangerous Detroit City side.
“We thought we put together the best possible lineup of what we had available,” Blitzers head coach Dan Krzyzanowicz said. “I was confident those guys would come out and do the job, but we just didn’t play very well.” The absences of Kendell McFayden (with Rochester Rhinos), Josh Faga (broken fibula) and Mike Reidy (unavailable) were killer, and the physicality and passion of Ryan Walter (yellow card accumulation) was missed as well. The FC Buffalo lineup that played Detroit to a scoreless draw in the home opener was a distant memory.
A costly turnover by Blitzer defender Josh Hall—deja vu from the away match against Detroit City—put the visitors on the board first, as David Dwaihy intercepted the fullback’s errant pass at the top of the 18-yard box before laying a ball to Craig Hearn on his left. With just Gray to beat, Hearn calmly tucked his shot low into the far right corner.
“We’ve done such a good job all year trying to keep it clean all in the back,” player/coach Matt Stedman admitted, “but a couple giveaways hurt us early, and that’s something we have to clean up come playoff time.”
“[Detroit City] is a good side,” Stedman continued, “and if you go down early to them, they’ll make you pay. We were kind of chasing the game—it opened us up a little more.”
FC Buffalo mustered a few scoring chances following Detroit’s goal, including a pretty build-up on the right wing between Ordonez and Buffalo captain Gary Boughton in the 26th. At the touchline to the right of goal, Boughton drove in a dangerous cross that Le Rouge defender Jon Evans lunged for, directing the ball out of bounds before Scirto could arrive for a back-post header. Off Boughton’s ensuing corner kick, an unmarked Andy Tiedt nodded his header wide of Jeremy Clark’s goal.
Eight minutes later, a darting run through midfield by Boughton had Le Rouge on its heels, but his short through-ball to Alexander Rouse was deemed off-side by the far linesman.
After warding off FC Buffalo’s threats, Cale Wassermann’s club struck twice in three minutes, effectively breaking the Blitzers’ spirit in the 35th and 37th. First, Detroit City forward Zeke Harris found space down the Blitzers’ right wing, delivering an out-swinging cross to Keith Lough, who split FC Buffalo’s center backs and smoothly flicked the ball into Gray’s lower left corner with his head. A SportsCenter worthy goal, it was tough to fault the Blitzer defense.
Just 90 seconds later, the fluorescent-orange-shoed Lough wriggled free in the Buffalo 18-yard box to smash a shot that was parried away by Gray, only to see Dwaihy smartly positioned at the back post for a simple tap-in.
Four subs at halftime—John Grabowski, Steven Carcaterro, goalie Jordan DiLapo and defender Nekabari Tor—weren’t enough to spark the Blitzers, who continually looked impotent when moving the ball up the field.
“We’ve got to get the ball and get it down better, keep it better,” Krzyzanowicz explained. “Guys aren’t thinking ahead or playing with a high mental or physical speed of play. We’re giving the ball away way too easily.”
Seven minutes into the second half, Le Rouge added to its lead behind another well-delivered cross. Hearn swung in another bending ball from the left side, and 6’6 Adam Bedell won an unchallenged header at the far post. DiLapo was sensational in getting both hands on the ball on his desperation dive, but Bedell knocked home the rebound after DiLapo failed to corral the loose ball.
“I think our guys did a great job keeping the lead once we got it,” Wassermann explained. “A big thing for us at halftime was maintaining the shutout, and the guys who came off the bench controlled the second half as well.”
FC Buffalo has made its life rather difficult for getting into the NPSL post-season, as Krzyzanowicz’s club must beat Binghamton to ensure a playoff berth. If the Blitzers lose tomorrow’s match, they must beat AFC Cleveland on the road July 6 and hope Binghamton either draws or loses to Erie. If Buffalo draws Binghamton tomorrow, the Blitzers—in the coming Cleveland contest—will have to match or beat Binghamton’s result against Erie.
Detroit City’s record improves to five wins, one loss and five ties (5-1-5), but returns home to face the Erie Admirals Sunday afternoon in Detroit. The two clubs are still in a heat for the top playoff seed with DCFC holding 20 points with one game remaining and Erie maintain 17 with three matches left.
“The city of Detroit has really backed the team, and the ownership group has really connected with the supporters as well,” Wassermann described of Le Rouge’s dream inaugural season. “It’s been a huge boost for the city, but also a huge boost for the organization and the players. It goes both ways, I think.”
“We’re always confident. If we perform and execute, we think we can beat anyone in the league,” he added.
(Header photo by Nate Benson from FC Buffalo’s home opener against Detroit—full gallery here).