Lovell, Castillo lead FC Buffalo to impressive point at Fort Wayne

Photos courtesy Fort Wayne FC

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FC Buffalo finished an arduous four-game away stretch by earning a 2-2 draw at unbeaten division champions Fort Wayne with goals from Ander Castillo and Ollie Lovell.

Castillo worked a 1-2 with Ollie Lovell to deliver his second assist of the season early in the contest, Lovell marking his return to full fitness with his first start and goal of the season.

Known for their danger, Fort Wayne scored a pair of quickfire goals minutes later to take a 2-1 lead into halftime.

Castillo scored the final goal of the game three minutes into the second half and is now just three goals away from becoming matching Kendell McFayden’s all-time club goal scoring mark (18).

The Wolves turned things around performance-wise following their 5-3 loss at Cleveland Force, hounding Fort Wayne in search of their early lead. 

FC Buffalo scored the game’s first goal through midfielder Lovell, who started alongside returning and vocal Wolves captain Max Kwitchoff.

[ RELATED: FC Buffalo men on wrong end of eight-goal thriller at Cleveland Force ]

A link-up combination in the midfield between Ander Castillo and Lovell ended with the Spanish striker finding space on the right flank. Castillo dribbled into Fort Wayne’s 18 and found the Southampton midfielder lurking inside the penalty area. Lovell struck the ball into the top left corner of the goal.

FCB coach Sean Hallas described Fort Wayne as a dangerous, quality team before the game, and they responded in the 22nd minute. FWFC midfielder Alberto “Beto” Anaya delivered a perfect cross from the left flank to the head of forward Mikey Ketteman, who beat Andreas Kokoska to tie the game.

Anaya was involved in the second FWFC goal. His throw-in met the timely run of Ethan Giwa-McNeil down the right flank, and Giwa-McNeil found Brandon Bermingham for a 2-1 lead in the 33rd minute.

Castillo and the Wolves responded in the second half by showing off the resilient identity preached by Hallas.

[ RELATED: Cleveland Force vs. FC Buffalo preview ]

Forward Rashaad Ogun, who got his first start and minutes this season, ran down the left flank, beat his defender to get inside the box, and passed the ball into Castillo’s feet for the Basque striker’s fifth goal of the season and a 2-2 score in the 48th minute. 

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The Basque Country-bred Castillo, still just 20 years old, has seven goals and two assists in all competitions this season, leading the team in both categories in his third season in blue and gold.

[ RELATED: 2024 Men’s Stats ]

“I have spent three summers here pursuing my dreams, and that [becoming FCB’s top-ever goal scorer] would mean something special to me,” said Castillo before Saturday’s match. “I want to break this record because I love Buffalo. I would love to be the number one in this city.”

Despite creating many chances near the final minutes and improving their defensive structure, the Wolves couldn’t get the winner. Still, they battled against a formidable Fort Wayne team and left Bishop D’Arcy Stadium as the first Valley Division team this season to take points away from them. 

Yesterday’s result may be the vital moral boost this team needs for the rest of the season as FCB ends this brutal four-game away stretch with an inspiring performance topped with positive takeaways.

[ RELATED: Fort Wayne vs FC Buffalo preview ]

The Wolves return home for a rematch with Cleveland Force in a 7:00 p.m. Tuesday kickoff at Robert Rich Sr. All-High Stadium. Single-game tickets are available here, while for a limited time, you can get a season ticket to all men’s and women’s regular season games for just $60.

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