Big build-up, big emotions and a big start all went pffffft Friday evening thanks to some hard fouls from FC Buffalo, who lost the only home match of the EC Derby, 4-1, at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium.
Kendell McFayden put the Blitzers (1-2-2) on the board with a third-minute tally that left Erie keeper Danny Mudd in a prone position for several minutes. Mudd mishandled a long ball that lead to Buffalo opening a 1-0 lead. Alexander Rouse picked up the assist.
John Melody’s team responded with vigor, scoring two goals in five minutes to take a 2-1 lead when the wheels fell off the competitive contest. The officials awarded a red card to Josiah Snelgrove after the FCB back shoved an Erie player who struck him in the face. Snelgrove spent the post-carding evening in the hospital and is not available for Sunday’s leg in Erie due to the red card.
FCB fought back hard and almost won a PK moments later when Mike Reidy made a strong run into the box, but Matt Stedman earned a second yellow card just before half that cost the Blitzers a second man. Buffalo would be playing 9v11 for the game and also lost head coach Dan Krzyzanowicz to a red card during a lengthy 12-minute discussion with all four referees.
The boys hung tough looking for counter attacks and almost tied on a brilliant strike from Cory Cwiklinski that missed the mark. Later, Mike Reidy latched onto a strong cross from Chris Walter but was unable to find the net from an odd angle. Moments later, noted FCB killer Afrim Latifi scored to make it 3-1 and levee was apparently cracked enough. Erie (2-1-1) tacked on one more.
FCB takes the pitch in Erie on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match, one of two games in Pennsylvania this season.