Ekeze nets pair, 10-man Blitzers win opener

Julian Ekeze scored a pair of first-half goals, and FC Buffalo gutted out more than a half-hour of play with 10 men in a 2-1 win over Cincinnati Saints at Howe Field in Hamburg on Saturday night.

[ MORE: Box score ]

Over 1,000 fans turned out for the club’s 2015 NPSL opener, and head coach Brendan Murphy’s FCB side didn’t make them wait long to cheer. Ekeze finished his back post run to pick up a Scott Doney flick and make it 1-0 in the 14th minute.

Ekeze added his second when he latched onto a Brian Knapp cross in the 35th minute, and the Blitzers cruised into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

Cincy brought it to within one through a Phil Haggerty header off an RJ Best corner kick in the 49th minute, and a card-heavy occasion caught up with FCB when Doney picked up his second yellow in the 61st minute.

All-in-all, seven cards were handed out by head referee Chris Trottier, almost evenly split between the clubs. Bobby Ross, Rob Brandell and Matt Bischoff also picked up yellows.

Andrew Coughlin made a number of critical saves in the win, four in total, as the Canisius backstop marked his return to FCB with a ‘W’.

The Blitzers were honored before the game with a proclamation from the Erie County Legislature, as Hamburg mayor Thomas J. Moses and Legislator Lynne Dixon joined the team for a pregame photo.

FCB was able to fight through the red card, picking up the win to move to 1-0. They’ll host a Detroit City FC team with the same record on Saturday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at Robert E. Rich Sr. All-High Stadium. General admission is $8.


FC Buffalo: Coughlin; M. Ferguson, Slotemaker, Ross, Bischoff (Kappock, 66′); Willings, Brandell (MacVane, 78′); A. Ferguson (Larocque, 74′), Knapp (Dahl, 61′), Ekeze (Thomas, 79′); Doney (RC, 61′)

Goals: Ekeze 2 (14′, 35′)

Cincinnati: Saliba; Best (Salheih, 69′), Midkiff, Sexton, Henderson; Cottrell, Montgomery, M. Hansson, Haggerty (Tadele, 81′), Sarkodie, Herd (Montoya, 58′)

Goal: Haggerty (49′)