Niagara Gazette — With a playoff position locked up and the second seed a certainty, FC Buffalo played with the hope of winning the Rust Belt Derby trophy but needed to defeat the undefeated Detroit City FC to do so. FC Buffalo scored early in the second half and threatened to score again but conceded a late goal as the host Blitzers lost to Detroit City, 2-1, before 1,004 fans at All-High Stadium in Buffalo.
Detroit City, the top team in the National Premier Soccer League’s Great Lakes division, entered the game undefeated and brought players who had a slight size advantage over the host Blitzers. Jeff Adkins put the visitors in the lead in the ninth minute of play, taking the ball off a free kick and scoring from about 30 yards out.
FC Buffalo jumped quickly in the second half and evened the score in the 46th minute when Ian Mort connected on Andy Tiedt’s crossing pass. The hosts nearly took the lead in the 50th minute when Mort crossed a pass to Tiedt, whose shot beat the goaltender but struck the post.
Detroit City took the lead in the 83rd minute when Ugohukwu Uche pounced on a defensive mistake by Buffalo and broke in to score what proved to be the game winner.
The match was chippy in the first half with FC Buffalo’s Ryan Walter receiving a yellow card in the 31st minute, then taking a hard foul that earned a yellow card for Detroit City’s David Edwardson.
With the win, Detroit City claimed the Rust Belt Derby championship, a three-team competition within the division that also involves AFC Cleveland. FC Buffalo finished second in this year’s competition.
The Blitzers open the NPSL playoffs next Saturday, traveling to Detroit to face archrivals Erie Admirals.