In their second game in club history, Flower City 1872 took the field at home against BC United. Both teams had only played one game previously this season. 1872 had a rough debut, falling 6-0 to the much better FC Buffalo, while BC United drew 1-1 in their opener. It was a beautiful 75-degree sunny day and 1872 had their new simple but elegant kits, which had not arrived in time for the first match.
The faces on the field for 1872 today may have been mostly the same as last week, but they were a much different side. Firstly, FC Buffalo was definitely a much stronger team, so that was always going to be a difficult match. However, in that match the ball rarely ever left the 1872 half. This match, 1872 started by instantly taking it to BC United. While the play was back and forth, this week they actually had a chance to show their play. Perhaps the biggest issue with the first match was that any time the 1872 keeper received the ball, the resulting kick was sent directly into the middle of the field, usually turning it over. Thankfully, that’s been remedied, and this match she distributed it by throwing it to players on both sides of the pitch, as well as punting it to them. It was instantly noticeable that this would help improve the play, by giving them much better chances at keeping possession.
It seemed as if the first real chance would be about 12 minutes in, as 1872 successfully passed it through the BC players to bring it all the way from the 1872 keeper to the BC box. However, the final pass which would have put 1872 alone on goal was (incorrectly) deemed offside. It didn’t matter though as scarcely 2 minutes later Taylor Rutland took a pass about 25 yards from the BC United goal. She took a high looping shot that dipped right over the keeper for Flower City 1872’s first goal in franchise history.
It seemed as if the line judge may be an issue, as another breakaway was denied two minutes later, in a play that seemed to be onside by a good distance. However, BC United was able to capitalize on this call, as they took the ball right down into 1872’s box and scored a goal from point-blank range, where keeper Madeline Pizzo didn’t have a chance.
In the 27th minute, 1872 had another great chance as forward Taylor Wingerden took the ball through the BC United half, bringing it around and fending off at least 4 defenders. Inexplicably though, she never took a shot, so by the time it was passed to Maya Rutland, she could only put it right into the keeper’s hands. BC United punished 1872 for this lack of scoring though, as their own Maya, Maya Anand, slammed a shot into the top left corner when she took the ball about 12 yards from the line in the 1872 box.
1872 started the second half down by a goal, but they came out strong. Flower City 1872 passed it behind the defense to Wingerden, but she couldn’t get the space, and the ball was escorted out behind the goal by United’s defense. Nothing came of the resulting corner kick, but it did give 1872 a nice amount of sustained possession, trying to break down the BC United defense to level the score. Unfortunately, BC United got the ball back and took it around the 1872 right back, carrying it to the touchline and passing it to Olivia McKnight, for her to put the ball in point blank in the 49th minute. Things could have gotten worse as 1 minute later BC had another corner kick, and while the ball bounced around in the box a bit, goalkeeper Pizzo eventually fell on it. Four minutes later though, Pizzo made the save of the game, as she came out to the top of the 18 yard box to slam into the ball and defender, as BC United had a breakaway, with the rebound bouncing just wide.
It got worse for 1872 in the 67th minute. Olivia McKnight scored her second goal of the game in what seemed like a lapse by the 1872 keeper. A ball was put behind the 1872 defenders, and Pizzo decided to defend the goal rather than attack a ball which she could probably have gotten to. The attacker then dribbled it past her for an easy tap in to the bottom right corner. McKnight could have sealed her hat trick in the 80th minute, and probably should have. A 2 on 0 opportunity passed to her, only to have another fantastic save by Pizzo to push the ball safely over the net. It only took two more minutes though before BC United put in their fifth goal. Victoria McKnight fought off the 1872 defense to get a one on one with the keeper, who never had a chance.
Flower City 1872’s biggest issue, the one that was exploited both weeks, is that their defenders come too high and cannot get back fast enough, leaving balls sent behind for the opposing team to take in on goal. It happened again and again in the second half, finally leading to the 6th goal in the 89th minute, with Maya Anand completing her hat trick, and sealing the 6-1 win for BC United.
1872’s substitution in the 56th minute put Niyah Rosado on the right wing really opened up their play. Most of the play went around and through her. While she was unable to substantially effect the outcome of the game, we wanted to point out that her coming onto the field seemed to be a positive. That’s not to take anything away from players we didn’t mention though. While the result was similar to their opener, and certainly not what Flower City 1872 would have wanted, their play was far superior to that of their first match. They are a very physical team, shouldering opponents off the ball constantly. They also scored the first goal in franchise history. If they can continue to make this much improvement in game three as they did from game one to game two, they will get their season on track soon.