Photo: Cay North (view full gallery here)

It’s not a big surprise that historic German side FC St. Pauli defeated FC Buffalo in an international friendly on Saturday at Robert Rich Sr. All-High Stadium, but both FCB’s performance and a terrific crowd underscored the future’s promise both short- and long-term.

Tunisian international Sami Allagui and U.S. U-19 striker Kevin Lankford scored goals on either side of halftime in FCSP’s 2-0 defeat of FCB, who next plays Friday versus Syracuse FC in our NPSL home opener of the 2019 season. Presale tickets are $2 cheaper.

FCB couldn’t finish prime chances produced by and for Kieran Toland and Nevado Elliott, both making their home debuts for 2019, and FC St. Pauli took a lead at the quarter-hour mark when Allagui darted between defenders to head a Richard Neudecker cross on goal. Goalkeeper Bryce Tramuta got a hand to it, but could only push it off the post and into the goal.

The 2.Bundesliga side scored their second goal just out of halftime via Lankford, the 20-year-old German American striker who had numerous family members at the match.

Off a feed from Luis Coordes, Lankford made a swift cut in the 46th minute and curled a clinical finish around Tramuta to give the match its final score line, though not for lack of chances. Both sides had fine opportunities to change the 2-0,

FCB will test its squad again before the return to league play with a Tuesday match against Empire United Soccer Academy, which features some of the best U-19 players in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. The 6:30 p.m. kickoff will be at Walter Kunz Stadium on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus. Season ticket holders are free, while admission is $5 otherwise.

Here are some more takes on Saturday’s occasion:

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