Niagara Gazette

Sports

May 10, 2013

Rain-soaked FC Buffalo takes home opener

Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — FC Buffalo held off a late surge by Zanesville Athletic FC of Ohio, as the host Blitzers won their season-opening National Premier Soccer League game, 2-1, before an estimated 400 fans at All-High Stadium in Buffalo.

The lightning and thunder that swept through Western New York during the mid to late afternoon were long gone by the start of the match. However, by the 12th minute of play there was light rain which, by the 23rd minute, had become a more steady downpour. Fans, luckily, were protected from the elements by the roof above them at the stadium. The artificial playing field, meanwhile, became increasingly slick but FC Buffalo's first-year head coach, Brendan Murphy, said his players were able to adjust well.

"We've been playing on a grass field that we've been training on for the last two weeks, and coming on turf it was faster anyway," he said. "And then with the rain on top of that, it made the surface even slicker and balls were just skipping and bouncing off of people. That's something you've got to adjust to on the fly, which I think we did a pretty good job."

The hosts put early pressure on the Zanesville defense, including a shot off a corner kick that was stopped on the goal line just shy of the end of the 4th minute. 

The quality of Buffalo's scoring chances improved as the first half progressed, with an awarded direct kick just before the end of the 25th minute hooking just over the crossbar. 

Then in the 27th minute, Buffalo's Andrew Bednarsky had a clear break on the goal but his shot was fired right into the chest of Zanesville goalkeeper Kyle Ripma.

Finally, FC Buffalo broke through in the 39th minute when Richie Wilson took the pass from Andrew Tiedt just inside the 18-yard line and scored to give the hosts the 1-0 lead.

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