FC Buffalo Preseason Blitz – Exit Stage Left

 As we continue to explore the rivalry between FC Buffalo and the Erie Admirals it's time to tell the story on how one of FC Buffalo's owners was ejected from the game. FC Buffalo's ownership is really interesting and inspiring group of guys who not only love bringing soccer to Buffalo but also have an undeniable passion for our city. This group of guys are not simply owners who sit around and let other people do all the work. These guys are running the PA, selling merch, selling concessions, running after loose balls and a dozen other jobs that you won't be seeing Ralph Wilson ever do (even in his prime). There's a bit of a story with these two images. Ben Tsujimoto and I drove down to Erie for one of the last games of FC Buffalo's 2011 season. Many of the fans from The Situation Room also drove down to cheer on the Blitzers. Nicholas Mendola, part owner of FC Buffalo made the trip to sit with the team and Coach K. This was suppose to be a happy go lucky game where the FC Buffalo faithful rejoiced in a good night of soccer. Unfortunately for FC Buffalo some poor officiating led to an unpleasant evening in our sister Rust Belt city. I normally don't blame officiating for many sports blunders. I respect how difficult the job of officiating is and probably couldn't do much better myself. Nor do I consider myself a soccer expert by any stretch of the imagination. That being said there were several officiating injustices that led to the 4-1 loss that FC Buffalo suffered. Several back to back yellow cards on FC Buffalo, a penalty kick and a goal from a header off a corner kick for Erie ultimately led to defeat of Buffalo. It was the goal in the 90th minute that led to these two images being snapped. Erie sealed the deal with their 4th goal and  after blowing a call that would have stopped play FC Buffalo owner began chirping at the center official. During halftime Mendola had a very spirited conversation with the officials regarding, we FC Buffalo believed, several missed calls and penalties that gave Erie the ultimate advantage. As Mendola began chirping the center official became increasingly irritated and disgruntled with being challenged. And then another missed call by the center official prompted Nick to vocally ask:
"How much did they  pay you to miss that call too? (or something nearly identical to that).
*WHISTLE* gameplay stops and then I get to snap two of my favorite images from the 2011 season. As you can see above the center official is pointing to the parking lot in the direction of the FC Buffalo bench, the next frame is an image of part owner Nick Mendola waving his hat towards the crowd like he just hit a home run in game seven of the World Series. It was a tough loss for FC Buffalo, but it ultimately led to a memorable moment of a teams owner getting ejected from the game. There's nothing special about the two above photos, in fact I'd probably chalk them up as 'bad photography.' The story behind them is interesting though, and that's what I'm increasingly trying to find, especially in my coverage of FC Buffalo - the story behind the shot. UNT, Nb  

One Reply to “FC Buffalo Preseason Blitz – Exit Stage Left”

  1. I remember from being at that game as a member of The Situation Room, that if we had not shown up the only noise in the stadium not on the field of play woudl have been from the numerous trains that passed by behind the player benches…and if you wanted to go into all the poor calls made this posting would have been significantly longer

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