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Pandemic can't stop tradition: FC Buffalo tangles with Erie

Pandemic can't stop tradition: FC Buffalo tangles with Erie

Buffalo vs. Erie NPSL

FC Buffalo and the Erie Commodores will play July 24 in the first of three games in 10 days for the Wolves.

For FC Buffalo, a rivalry clash against the Erie Commodores has long sparked similar intensity and dislike to the NFL's Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots. It's followed a similar trajectory, too: Erie, like the Patriots, dominated the match-ups for years before Buffalo narrowed the gap significantly.

In a year where the National Premier Soccer League was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wolves owner Nick Mendola and Erie's John Melody have managed to schedule a tilt in the NPSL-branded Members Cup. 

FC Buffalo visits Veterans Memorial Stadium (East 26th Street, Erie, Pa.) for a 7:30 p.m. match July 24, the second game of a doubleheader preceded by Cleveland SC and the Pittsburgh Hotspurs at 5:30. The match will be broadcast on MyCujoo, an online streaming platform. In-person tickets, limited to 250, cost $10 and include all Members Cup games.

Competitors from both teams have been subject to Covid-19 tests and have followed strict "Return-to-Play" guidelines ahead of Friday.

Friday's duel will also serve as a tuneup for FC Buffalo's first of two matches in the National Independent Soccer Association Independent Cup, which begins at 7:45 p.m. July 29 at the Hagerty Family Events Center, also in Erie, at 501 W. 12th St. on the Cathedral Prep campus against Cleveland SC. This game counts toward both the NPSL Members Cup and the NISA Independent Cup.

[Related: The Wolves' last match in Erie was a barn-burner]

FC Buffalo will then travel to Hamtramck, Mich.'s Keyworth Stadium to play Detroit City FC, a professional side in the NISA, at 3 p.m. Aug. 2. That match will be broadcast on Detroit City TV; find details for that game here. Although FC Buffalo might play 12-15 matches in a typical season, three over the course of 10 days is better than nothing for 2020.

Here are the players who've been training with FC Buffalo before this slew of matches and are eligible for selection.

Goalkeepers

Bryce Tramuta (Canisius, returning FCB)

Noah Smith (ECC/Cortland, returning FCB)

Andy Queen (Buffalo State, new to the club)

Defenders

Robert Williamson (Buffalo State, returning FCB)

Colin O'Keefe (ECC/Buffalo State, returning FCB)

Zach Drayer (Rhode Island, returning FCB)

Trey Buscaglia (Daemen, new FCB)

Jayson Repine (Niagara, new FCB)

Jake Schaffer (Yale, new FCB)

Rocky Antwi (soon-to-be Niagara, new FCB)

Midfield

Jordan Acevedo (Niagara, new to FCB)

Nuke Gboe (soon-to-be Niagara, new to FCB)

Nemanja Simic (Buffalo State, new to FCB)

Saleman Salim (Buffalo State, new to FCB)

Derek Bartlo (Daemen, new to FCB)

Peter Massaquoi (St. Bonaventure, new to FCB)

Ali Mohamed (returning FCB)

Josh Kam (soon-to-be Rhode Island, new to FCB)

Tyler Moran (soon-to-be DePaul, new to FCB)

Forwards

Akean Shackleford (Lindsey Wilson, returning FCB)

Nevado Elliott (Alderson Broaddus, returning FCB)

Hunter Walsh (Canisius, returning FCB)

Troy Brady (Canisius, returning FCB)

Ali Alomari (soon-to-be Niagara, new FCB)

Ali Shawish (Buffalo State, returning FCB)

Nino Marino, Mo Saif, Jake Lenhard and Jonah Fogel have all been training with the team, too, but it's uncertain if they'll be eligible to compete.

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