Mainstays McFayden, Walter reflect on win, season

By Alex Beilman

All Photos: Dan & Margaret | Hickling Images

[ VOTE: Supporters Choice Award ]

Veteran Blitzers Kendall McFayden and Chris Walter played big roles as FC Buffalo closed out its 2016 season in style, rolling past Indy Eleven NPSL 2-0 at Robert E. Rich All High Stadium on Friday night.

McFayden, who entered the game for Romario Guscott at the start of the second half, gave fans two goals in two minutes, the first on a well-placed through ball by newcomer Cameron Harr found McFayden as he sped past the Indy Eleven back line.

“When I first came into the game, I told them that the defenders are slow. I saw that from the first half. So I told them just make it a foot race and I’ll do the rest,” McFayden said. “It was a great ball in by Cam, I beat the center back and finishing inside the 18 is my bread and butter, really.”

His second goal was a mirror image, with the pass provided by Swedish midfielder Philip Persson. Again, McFayden took control of the ball, blew by the defenders and placed a strike over the keeper’s right shoulder.

“The second goal was a great ball in by Phil, perfect timing. I just made the goalie make a decision before I made my decision,” McFayden said.

[ MATCH RECAP: FC Buffalo 2-0 Indy Eleven NPSL ]

“You know what you’re going to get when Kenny comes on. He’s smart, he might be the fastest kid in the league,” Walter said. “I hate to say it, but he might be too old to play 90. But when he comes on, you know what you’re going to get. We try to find him early and quick and get him through. His finishing ability is one of the best.”

Credit: Dan & Margaret | Hickling Images Do not use without express written permission of FC Buffalo
Credit: Dan & Margaret | Hickling Images

Although Walter did not find the score sheet in the match, save a yellow card, he provided what he has all season: leadership. The midfielder has played all six seasons of the club’s existence, and recently became the first player in team history to appear in 50 league games.

Serving as captain again, he provided his signature intensity.

“This league is different. It’s a different style of play. It’s more gritty,” Walter said. “It’s a battle. The boys look to me for a spark, to put an extra tackle in and to push them a little harder. I have to be a leader out there, on and off the field. The coaching staff looks to me to be a role model, not to do anything stupid. Unfortunately there are yellow cards, I get those. No reds this year, so we can cheers to that.”

Both players were happy with the development of the team this season, despite missing the playoffs, and are both very optimistic about the future of FC Buffalo.

“The season was not how we thought it was going to. This is probably the most tight-knit FC Buffalo team we’ve had,” McFayden said. “I think it can only go up from here. Especially with the fan base we have.”

“We all bonded quite nicely and our talent level was high. I just think those three games something happened where we just didn’t come out prepared. You can’t do that. Every game, you need to fight like it’s your last,” Walter said. “I think it’s only upward. We’re getting more fans. The fan base is growing. The style of play is getting better. Buffalo as a whole is getting better.”