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FC Buffalo salvages draw behind Reidy’s moment of brilliance

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Battling back from Saturday’s 3-0 drubbing against Detroit City, the FC Buffalo Blitzers mustered a 1-1 tie against Greater Binghamton FC in Sunday’s match at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium.

“I thought the guys came out with the right state of mind and battled well,” Blitzer captain Gary Boughton said. “We knew it was going to be a drain physically, but we’ve got the guys who can provide the work rate. Luckily we could at least get a point.” Temperatures in the mid-80s on All-High’s turf made the match a bit of a fitness test, as both teams sported weary legs.

The Blitzers dominated possession throughout the match, but poor combinations in the final third from FC Buffalo and occasionally brilliant last-ditch defending from Binghamton prevented the home club from earning its second win of the season.

Against the run of play, GBFC struck first in the 35th minute when a keen through-ball from Mawvena Agbossoumonde found striker Mike Spadine (Le Moyne, Owego Free Academy) even with FC Buffalo’s flat back four. With a burst of speed, Spadine took a touch into space with his left before rifling a low drive inside Eric DeHond’s far post.

Trailing by one at the break, FC Buffalo wasn’t without chances in the first 45. Kendell McFayden failed to connect with Gary Boughton in the eighth minute on a two-on-one, as McFayden’s final ball was too close to diving Binghamton keeper Jason Stenta (formerly of USL-2’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds). In the 41st, a smart early cross from Boughton on the right side met the head of an unmarked McFayden 10 yards from goal, but the striker couldn’t put the shot on frame. It was that kind of afternoon for the FC Buffalo attack.

“Fatigue has a lot to do with it—when you’re physically tired, you stop thinking as much,” Boughton said. “The last ball in the final third was a little careless at times. We created more half chances than full chances, and that’s what hurt us—we couldn’t get that full chance, we couldn’t get that final ball to connect.”

With FC Buffalo’s struggles to link up in the attack continuing after the break, winger Mike Reidy took matters into his own hands. After Ryan Walter won a challenge close to midfield, Reidy found the ball at his feet facing forward.

“I was dribbling diagonally with a guy on my back, so I did a little cut to get rid of him,” Reidy explained. “When I got around the 18, I started to realize I was around the goal, saw an opportunity to take on one or two more guys and luckily I was able to get by them and slot it right by the keeper.”

What Reidy failed to mention in his description of the goal was his absurd nutmeg of GBFC center midfielder Chris Riley, who was left grabbing his own shorts with a befuddled expression after Reidy split his wickets, duped three others and easily solved Stenta. A 50-yard run that knifed in and out of at least six defenders, Reidy’s solo foray must be in consideration for the NPSL’s Goal of the Year.

FC Buffalo—without the services of head coach Dan Krzyzanowicz, who served the second match of his three-game suspension—continued to push forward after Reidy’s marker. Substitute Chris Walter and midfielder Cory Cwiklinski linked up twice, but McFayden couldn’t find his touch in front of goal. A vicious volley from the former Medaille standout was blocked by the face of GBFC’s Oleg Konopatskiy, and McFayden later missed two chances from in close in the 75th. 

It was Binghamton defender Patrick Thompson who iced the draw for the visitors, however, as he thwarted two Blitzer chances in the waning moments. Following a strong run down the left side by Buffalo’s Nekabari Tor, Mike Reidy dribbled with speed to the touchline before cutting a low cross through the Binghamton 18-yard box. Anticipating well, Thompson stepped in before the ball reached McFayden standing in a prime finishing position.

As the clock struck 90, Blitzer substitute and former Canisius forward Collin Lynch nearly struck gold on a volley 10 yards from goal, but Thompson extended his leg to deflect the ball away from danger. 

FC Buffalo co-owner Brent Garner and player-coach Matt Stedman assumed Krzyzanowicz’s coaching duties, and despite plenty of chances, the draw was disappointing, especially considering the Blitzers’ 2-1 win over Binghamton earlier in the season. Still, the visitors fielded a more competitive side, one that was staunch enough to blank the league’s second place team, AFC Cleveland, on Saturday. Stenta, Spadine and Jonathan Goodridge were unfamiliar to Buffalo, and along with Thompson, Agbossoumonde and Scott Craig, the six guided a competitive side. 

“They definitely brought in some new faces and added a couple more skilled players,” Boughton admitted, “but I still feel like we’re the better side—we created more chances, and top to bottom we’re a better team than they are.”

FC Buffalo travels again to Erie for a 7 p.m. Friday match at Gannon University Field before hosting Detroit City FC in the final home game at All-High on June 30.

“We need to get results here, especially down the stretch,” the Blitzers’ captaid explained. “We need to get a little momentum going forward to playoffs—this division is going to be wide open into the tournament, and if we can get a little momentum going into it, I think we can have some success.”

FC Buffalo: Reidy 52’
GBFC: Spadine 35’

FC Buffalo: R. Walter (yellow, 40’), C. Walter (yellow, 73’)
GBFC: Molchanovich (yellow, 42’), Healey (yellow, 73’)

FC Buffalo: DeHond; Zelko (Tor 72’), Snelgrove, Grabowski (Lynch 80’), Rinow (Hall 46’); Boughton (C. Walter 60’), Reidy, Cwiklinski, R. Walter; Tiedt (Rouse 68’), McFayden

Binghamton: Stenta; Craig, Yatsishin, Studgeon (Etuk 89’), Thompson; Riley (Corbic 65’), Agbossoumonde, Goodridge, Aingsworth (Konopatskiy 55’); Spadine (Bushen 70’), Molchanovich (Healey 55’)

(Header photo courtesy of Nate Benson from first Binghamton match—full gallery here)

TAGGED: buffalo blitzers, fc buffalo, gbfc, mike reidy, mike spadine, npsl soccer, soccer

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