PREVIEW: Indy Eleven NPSL at FC Buffalo

By Alex Beilman

All Photos: Dan & Margaret | Hickling Images

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FC Buffalo will play their final game of NPSL season on Friday night, squaring off with Indy Eleven NPSL at 7 p.m. from Robert E. Rich All High Stadium.

The game unfortunately can’t do anything for the Blitzers’ playoffs hopes, as Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Erie coupled with an Indy win over FC Indiana to cut those short.

“When things go wrong, it’s a real character test,” head coach Brendan Murphy said. “I think you learn a lot about people when you see how they react to setbacks. We’ve got to be able to bounce back, put our heads down, and get back to work.”

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the postseason, the club is focused on coming away with a positive result this weekend.

“We owe it to the fans, we owe it to the club, we owe it to the city and we owe it to the group we’ve put together here,” Murphy said. “Only way I know how to deal with it is to get back to work.”

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Spirits have remained high amongst the Blitzers. Players and coaches are aware there have been positives to take away and they hope to be able to find more positives to build off of for next season.

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

“Finishing by beating a team going into the playoffs and trying to make their job more difficult would be a really good thing,” said assistant coach Bob Roach. “It’s reemphasized how important every single match is.”

And defender Keith Traut sees the match as another building block for soccer in his home for the summer.

“I see it only growing. I can’t speak to what it’s been like in the past, but it’s tremendous here,” Traut said. “I’m confident that FC Buffalo will get better and pick up more support and more traction.”

Another driving force for the Blitzers this weekend: the fans. Players and coaches have been floored by the support they’ve received all season, both at home and on the road, and now they want to put an exclamation point on the season with a win.

“Everyone from training this week, everyone’s said the same thing. We want to go out and give something for the fans one last time, everything is for them,” midfielder Jack Donaldson said. “That’s why we’re playing and hopefully we get a positive result.”

Traut echoed the sentiment.

“Just get a win for the fans. We owe that to them. This is definitely for them,” Traut said. “I can’t think of one club where I’m from that has this kind of support. They’re diehard FC Buffalo fans.”