FC Buffalo season preview series: The plan
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • May 09, 2012 @ 11:07am
As FC Buffalo enters its third season as an amateur soccer club, the direction of the organization will continue to take shape. Given the inherent difficulties in running a minor league team—volatile rosters, feverish effort to turn a profit, the goal of community relevance—FC Buffalo has done well.
FC Buffalo’s first match is at 7 p.m. Sunday at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium. A season ticket can be purchased here for $25.
Last year’s match against the Bedlington Terriers—a semi-pro club from northern England—was a landmark for FC Buffalo, drawing the organization’s highest attendance and significant media buzz. The spectacle was also an opportunity to appreciate the role of Robert E. Rich in his support for Buffalo’s minor league sports, and the chance for fans to greet the Rich family and the Blitzers’ owners post-game revealed the kind of unexpected unity soccer can create.
While these individual events heighten awareness, nothing draws fans better than an exciting team that wins matches. The Blitzers have boasted true ballers, as Dan Stevens (now on PS Kemi Kings, Finland) and Mike Unwin (Des Moines Menace, PDL) left legacies of leadership, integrity and production. Still, FC Buffalo has yet to put together a stellar season—the Blitzers went 6-7-1 last year and 6-4-2 in their inaugural season.
Perhaps the most frustrating statistic is FC Buffalo’s record against its bitter rivals, the Erie Admirals, as the Blitzers are win-less in four matches and have been outscored 11-3. Player commitment, particularly for road matches, has been a barrier to winning, as it wasn’t unheard of for Dan Krzyzanowicz’s squad to travel with 12 or 13 players last year.
Good news has arrived in droves this off-season, however, as the Blitzers welcome two former professional players into the fold and surprisingly return last year’s MVP Josh Faga. New, more relatable opponents like AFC Cleveland and Detroit City FC replace rather random adversaries from previous years like New Jersey, Pocono and Buxmont, so perhaps more rivalries will form in addition to the highly-anticipated Erie match-ups (home, June 8).
In Buffalo.com’s three-part preview series, replete with in-depth interviews, we’ll highlight the career paths of three Blitzers:
(Header photo courtesy of Nate Benson from Buffalo vs. Erie match).