Only four premier division matches were still on after several days of rain, which made several grass fields across the Buffalo unplayable. Surprise results, a deluge of goals and some sterling individual performances marked a noteworthy start to the Buffalo & District Soccer League season.
Let's get to the scores and sums:
*Clarence Yotes 4, Amherst Sharpshooters 3
Summary: What a wild match in Week 1. Clarence jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Chris Berardi, who rounded Adam Durst after receiving a J.J. Hughes pass and sneaked in a shot from a bad angle, and Derek Maier, who finished from in close as Sharpshooters clamored for an offsides call. Sharpshooters' stalwart defender Drew Braun picked up an injury on the play, rubbing salt in the wound.
Amherst would get one back with a brilliant overhead kick from Eric Brodfuehrer - the likely BDSL goal of the week - but Clarence would answer with an individual effort of their own in the second half. Canisius College alum Andrea Conte scythed through three defenders in a tight space before slipping the ball past Durst's near post.
Clever footwork from Sharpshooters' Brandon Loncar at the top of Clarence's box created a shooting lane, and the Buffalo State alum picked out the lower right corner of Len Previte's goal to keep the game close. Then it was Andrew Incho's turn to give Clarence yet another two-goal cushion, but Loncar responded again with a similar tally to his first.
Sharpshooters had two chances to equalize in the waning seconds, but Clarence's defense managed to stifle the chances.
*BSC Raiders 4, SoHo FC 2
Summary: SoHo surprised Raiders with a quick start, as Steve Butcher took two chances with aplomb, feinting defenders and finishing side-netting with authority. A BSC comeback felt inevitable, however, and the goals began to roll in as the game progressed.
John Grabowski deposited a shot from the weak side from a narrow angle to start the rally, then Matt Waddington exploded from center back to cut past a defender and bend a shot inside the right post. FC Buffalo striker Kendell McFayden tacked on two goals - one a deft poke from in close - as Raiders eventually wore down SoHo and nabbed the three points.
*Celtic United 3, Queenston 1
Summary: It was an electric premier-division debut for United's Matt Belardi, as the SUNY Fredonia midfielder struck for two goals and an assist in a dynamite display against Queenston. Despite starting the game with 10 men (shocking to no one), Celtic United held the Parliament at bay until two more players arrived.
Belardi's first infuriated the Queenston defense, which insisted the goalscorer was several feet offside. Brandon Galanti's header across the face of goal put United up two before Justin Sims' rocket from in close brought Queenston one back. Belardi sealed the deal late with another counter attack strike, showing a deep repertoire of celebrations. New signing Anthony Yarussi was outstanding defensively in his debut.
*BUSS 2, Buffalo Bantu 0
Summary: Neither the margin of victory - nor the game-play - was comfortable for BUSS, but three points is three points. Bantu proved resilient - showing pace, tenacity (often a little too much) and surprising continuity - but the winners' defense of Michael Malcolm, Polo Suazo, Josh Hammer, Rich Williams and Adonis Pimienta-Penalver helped GK Drew Colosimo, who went relatively untested, keep the sheet clean.
Two of BUSS' many new signings - Hunter Walsh and Dan Tarbell - scored the goals, with Walsh's coming on a well-placed strike at the conclusion of a first-half counterattack. Tarbell's insurance goal came roughly 15 minutes into the second half; he reacted first to a rebound of Mohamed Musse's shot and made no mistake.
BUSS were able to kill the final 30 minutes off without much of a hassle, although Bantu's persistent fouling likely made for several sore Mondays.