From the Team Room, Vol. I: Midweek road trip


(Photo by Erica Morano for the Buffalo News)

Don’t miss out on the Blue Collar Gala at Big Ditch Brewing Company

Hello FC Buffalo fans, my name is Connor Willings, No. 8 for your favorite team! Jabari Danzy and I thought it’d be a good idea to keep everyone up to date with the team’s progress and figured these blog posts might be a good way to do it. For this entry, we wanted to shed some light on how the team’s gone about our midweek road matches in Binghamton and Rochester!

Off the back of a disappointing performance and result against Erie, we faced back-to-back away games with Greater Binghamton FC on Wednesday night and the Rochester Rhinos on Thursday morning.

We knew we had something to prove at the start of the game in Binghamton so we wanted to come out flying, and that’s just what we did. On his first start of the season, Peter DiLorenzo had a diving header cleared off the line and we really controlled the tempo of the game with most of the possession.

It didn’t take long for us to break the deadlock as our unrelenting pressure forced a turnover in the midfield. Andrew Ferguson picked up the ball and crossed it to the back post where Derek Maier rose the highest to nod the ball back across goal to an open Brett Larocque to finish.

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We went into the half up 1-0 with a comfortable hold of the game and Coach Murphy took advantage of a deep bench and made a host of substitutions to keep the team fresh for our big game this weekend against Michigan Stars.

Our control over the game continued for much of the second half and DiLorenzo was again unlucky to see a shot rebound of the crossbar. We looked like we were coming away with the win when a player from Greater Binghamton FC’s errant cross into the box found its way into the top corner with 20 minutes to go. Following the game-tying goal, another two great chances were produced by Julian Ekeze and Josh Beshaw, but we failed to capitalize and retake the lead.

At the final whistle, we were pretty disappointed with out lack of finishing because we knew we should have had four or five goals to put the game away, but the positives to take away were that we created a number of chances with a good overall team performance.

We really faced a tough test on Thursday morning when we played the first-place Rochester Rhinos from the United Soccer League at Sahlen’s Stadium. With our squad rotation, many of the players that played the night before were given the day to rest while Coach Murphy selected a team fresh team with some new faces. Both Michael Clarke and Ross Suitor saw their first minutes of the season, and Trevor Hill did well with more minutes.

Unlike the game on Wednesday night, the game didn’t start out the way we wanted after a defensive mix up allowed Rochester forward (who used to play for FC Buffalo) Asani Samuels to score inside 10 minutes. Trailing by one at the half, the Rhinos upped the tempo in the second half when they brought on more experienced players.

A blast from distance and an unmarked man at the back post ensured that the Rhinos finished with the 3-0 win. It was a great team challenge to go up against this much older and more experienced team!

Our attention has now turned towards a huge away game for us against the Michigan Stars on Saturday. After digging ourselves in a hole this past weekend, we know we must do whatever it takes to take these three points on the road.

Don’t miss out on the Blue Collar Gala at Big Ditch Brewing Company