Match preview: FC Buffalo men vs Toledo Villa

FC Buffalo begins its 2024 USL League Two campaign on Sunday at 7 p.m. when the Wolves face Toledo Villa 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. Sunday will also be FCB’s second season opener in USL League Two. 

Los Lobos, a nickname chanted by fans of The Situation Room, beat the Erie Commodores 2-1 in the first leg of the 2024 Erie County Brewers Cup on Thursday. 

The win meant something special for head coach Sean Hallas, who debuted as FCB’s head coach on Thursday.

“It meant a lot to me for the City of Buffalo. I’ve lived here for nine years, so it was a proud moment. It is something that will continue throughout the season,” said Hallas. 

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And part of what makes Buffalo unique is the fans, especially the passionate FCB fans and supporters group The Situation Room, who made the long-awaited return to All-High Stadium memorable

“It gives the boys an extra gear when we need it to say we are one-nil down or one-nil up, and the boys need that extra 10% or 5% energy. That’s what the crowd is there for,” said Hallas. “It’s exactly what these players need, these young guys who sometimes need that extra 5% to get over the line, and we appreciate every single one of them.”

Now Hallas and his team need their support on Sunday. Last season, the Wolves lost two of three to Toledo. The last time both teams met, the match ended in a 2-2 draw, with striker Felix Kogler scoring two goals. 

Toledo, led by fourth-year coach Matt Johnson, will also begin its 2024 USL League Two campaign on Sunday. Toledo finished with 12 points last season and missed the playoffs due to losing out on goal difference to second-place Cleveland Forces. 

At Friday evening’s training session, Hallas revealed that challenges are bound to happen with Sunday’s match being the first game of the season. Still, he is confident that his team will overcome them. 

“Every team [including Toledo] we play in this league will be a high-quality mixture of D2 and D1 kids and NAIA kids, all quality players across the nation,” said Hallas. “I’m happy with the squad that we’ve got. Every player will give it all, and that’s what I’m looking for. There will still be mistakes. I don’t expect perfect performances across the board, but I expect the boys to give me a certain intensity and fundamental aspect of the game.” 

The Wolves also look to amend last season’s sixth-place finish. FCB’s 21 new summer signings, like center-back Kobe Grant, will give this team a new spark. Grant, who made an impressive 90-minute debut on Thursday, could face his former club on Sunday.

Nonetheless, the experience of players like Ander Castillo and Matheus Spina, who both scored on Thursday, will guide the Wolves to reach higher levels in its second season in the USL League Two.