It was not in the ideal conditions, as it was pouring rain for the debut match for Flower City 1872. However, it’s great to see a new women’s team taking the field. For the first match of the season, their neighbors down the road, FC Buffalo began their 2023 season with a trip to PaeTec Park. Well, it’s going to be a bit difficult to do this, as at the time of this writing, I’d not yet had a chance to watch any practice or meet with any players or coaches, nor did I have a finalized roaster, so I’ll only be able to reference players by number.
Being the more seasoned team, having played for the two years prior to this, FC Buffalo showed their experience by immediately pressing 1872. Most of the first half was played in the 1872 end. There was a nervous moment early on, when an easy shot was bobbled by the keeper, but that was probably due more to the pouring rain, as she easily handled a more difficult attempt a few minutes later, and another one a few minutes after that.
The issue that 1872 encountered through the first half was that FC Buffalo was much better at passing. While Buffalo’s women took passes cleanly, any time 1872 had possession, they took the ball really hard, having trouble stringing together a good amount of passes. Their first chance though came in the 12th minute as number 9 took the ball and had a long break along the right wing, however she had a defender on her and when she tried to stop to take a shot, the ball bounced away.
FC Buffalo’s strategy seemed to be to try to pass it through the final defenders to an attacker making a break. They attempted it and completed passes into the box that way multiple times in the opening 20 minutes, however most of the time 1872 were lucky in that they were deemed offside more than once. The 19th minute saw a completed version of this, where the 1872 keeper made a nice save. The rebound went right back to the Buffalo player, and a diving save kept it level at 0. Unfortunately, not even two minutes later, FC Buffalo finally broke down 1872. The keeper came out and made a save, with the Buffalo attacker tumbling over her, but that left the net wide open for Buffalo’s Carissima Cutrona to easily put it in. That also saw the end of the day for 1872’s starting keeper, as she left injured.
Around the 30 minute mark, the game saw real sustained pressure by Buffalo. There were multiple corners, balls sent right across the box, and a wonderful shot in the 34th minute tipped over the bar by a great jump from the substituted keeper. The 40th minute finally saw Buffalo capitalize on all their possession. Marcy Barberic got the ball in the 1872 box with only the keeper to beat. She put a nice shot over the jumping keeper and right under the bar, to send Buffalo into the half with a well-deserved 2 goal lead.
The second half saw the same issues continue that 1872 had faced in the first half. All the pressure was from Buffalo again, and it only took 7 minutes before they put in their 3rd goal. Marcy Barberic put in her second goal on a nice curling kick from a corner, over a jumping keeper. Only one minute later, she completed her hat trick, as two Buffalo players took on one defender, and it was passed to her for a tap-in. The hour mark just saw it getting worse for 1872. Buffalo sent the ball right through the box across the line, the first attacker missed the ball, but substitute Laura Bogner couldn’t miss. The 72nd minute saw another fantastic goal, as another substitute, Morgan Kulniszewski took the ball 25 yards out and slammed it into the top corner of the goal.
A 6-0 loss was not the debut that Flower City 1872 would have wanted, equaling the 2017 Lady Lancers debut loss. I have some takeaways with some caveats. First, 1872 was missing better players. There were multiple players on the bench that were deemed ineligible, and players that couldn’t make it today. They did not have any substitutions to make, so their lack of fitness by the end was noticeable. They also had some players that only just signed very recently, so the team hadn’t really had much of a chance to play together. As for the biggest issues with the play on the field, it was also a really tough game for the right back, as all the play went through her. She had issues keeping pace and getting to the ball, and FC Buffalo did a great job exploiting it. A much more fixable issue is the delivery from the keeper. Any time she could send a ball out of her box, she booted it directly into the middle of the field. 1872 attackers were not winning the balls, so essentially these kicks were just turning the ball over to FC Buffalo. This is an easy remedy, as she should change up her deliveries, go short, go to a defender to bring it forward. The entire second half was spent in the 1872 end because of these issues, so it was a rough night for the defense. But, it was also the first game ever, against a team that won their division the last two years. They return to play in Auburn next Saturday at 2pm.
FC Buffalo goals:
20′ – Carissma Cutrona
40′, 52′, 53′ – Marcy Barberic
59′ – Laura Bogner
72′ – Morgan Kulniszewski
Flower City 1872 Debut players:
3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 18, 19, 13 (GK) subbed 1 (GK)