After trotting out a skeleton roster for their first two games of the season, FC Buffalo (0-1-1) will have almost a full complement of options for Friday's match versus the Rochester Lancers (1-2).
Julien Dragomir has had his International Transfer Certificate approved by the Romanian soccer federation and U.S. Soccer, allowing him to finally represent FC Buffalo. Austin Stout and Cameron Emerson have also been added to the squad and are cleared to play Friday.
Brian Paredes, a starting defender from last year's roster, is questionable to appear after fighting an injury over the last two weeks.
The match kicks off at 7 p.m. at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium (2885 Main St.). Tickets are $7 in advance or $8 at the door.
WHO'S NEW?: Dragomir, who began his college career at University of Nevada Las Vegas and eventually starred at Montana State-Billings, received official clearance on Thursday, and his presence - if selected by head coach Frank Butcher - could spark an attack that is still searching for its first goal after 180 scoreless minutes.
Stout, a midfielder, played sparingly in his first two years with West Virginia before scoring twice - both game-winners - in 16 matches with Duquesne, who's coached by former Niagara University gaffer Chase Brooks.
Emerson, a New Zealand native like FC Buffalo teammates Fox Slotemaker and Cameron Hogg, represented his country at the U-17 level before coming to the U.S. The central midfielder played one season at Patrick Henry Community College before finding a home at Anderson University, an NCAA Division II school in South Carolina. The 6'2 Kiwi scored three times and added an assist in his first year at Anderson.
WHO LET THE DOGZ OUT?: Fond memories are scarce for the Wolves in terms of past meetings with Rochester, who've re-branded from the RiverDogz to the Lancers after just one season under the former nickname. Last year, Rochester spoiled FC Buffalo's home opener, 1-0, behind a Luke Pavone goal, then put the Wolves' playoff hopes in major jeopardy with a 2-1 win at SUNY Brockport.
After the Lancers changeover, Marc Mandell remains an owner in the side, while former Buffalo Blizzard star Doug Miller has taken the head coaching reins from Matt Tantalo, who now coaches Syracuse FC. In an interesting twist, Miller was previously head coach of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) side Syracuse Silver Knights in 2016.
Salvatore "Soccer Sam" Fantauzzo, former owner of the MISL team in Rochester, joins Mandell in the ownership group, with business director Nick Mojsovski as the third partner.
KNOW THE FOE: A handful of names dotting the Lancers' roster might be familiar to Buffalo soccer fans. Current Buffalo State College players Sammy Wasson and August Finn, as well as recent Bengals graduate William Banahene, have played key roles so far, while former FC Buffalo winger Anthony Rozzano and trialist Austin Gerber are also on the roster.
The Lancers' standouts include winger Antonio Manfut, who jumped ship from AFC Cleveland, center backs Nikkye De Point (Villanova) Jake Schindler, and terrific Genesee Community College duo William Stone and Rafael Godoi. De Point and Godoi each scored in the Lancers' lone win so far, a 2-0 defeat of Syracuse.
AROUND THE LEAGUE: Dayton has played a league-leading five matches already, but the Dynamo have scooted out to an impressive nine-point edge over second place. Defending NPSL champions AFC Cleveland are in the midst of a title hangover, securing just four points from four games. See the full table here.