ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Lancers dug themselves an early hole as they suffered their first National Premier Soccer League defeat of the season, losing to FC Buffalo, 3-0, at Charles A. Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Stadium Sunday evening.
The result left the Lancers at 0-1-1 and one point after last week’s dramatic 1-1 home draw with Cleveland SC while FC Buffalo (1-0-0 3 points) took the Rust Belt Division lead.
Former Lancers goalkeeper William “The Wall” Banahene lived up to his nickname, making several key saves en route to a clean sheet.
Only four minutes after kickoff, FC Buffalo took advantage of a Rochester defensive error as Nuukele Gboe slotted the ball past goalkeeper Brian Wilkin.
FC Buffalo doubled its advantage in the 18th minute, connecting on a double-header goal by Rodrigo Almeida. Christopher Jensen started the scoring sequence with a free kick on the right side. He sent the ball to Robert Williamson, who nodded it to Almeida. An unmarked Almeida headed it past Wilkin.
Lukas Fernandes, the scoring hero of last week’s draw, almost sliced the lead in half in the 23rd minute as his free kick just missed the upper near corner from the left side. Banahene denied Rafa Godoi in the 28th minute and then Fernandez seven minutes later to keep the hosts off the scoreboard.
Some 45 seconds into the second half, Stefan Copetti came close to giving FC Buffalo a three-goal lead as his shot bounced off the artificial turf before hitting underside of the crossbar as the ball did not cross the goal line.
Banahene wasn’t only efficient, he was spectacular as well. He tipped away midfielder Bruno Schiefer’s close-range header off Fernandes’ corner kick in the 63rd minute. Schiefer and Williamson knocked heads on the play as the game was held up for a couple of minutes as both players were checked out.
After FC Buffalo’s Stian Joergensen incurred a yellow card by tripping Fernandes, the Lancers’ midfielder fired a 29-yard free kick just to the right of the goal in the 84th minute.
FC Buffalo tallied its third goal as Jayson Rapine scored off a Zach Drayer right-wing cross in the 86th minute. Wilkin had his hands on the shot, but the ball’s momentum carried it into the net.
English native and midfielder Harry Fuller made his Lancers debut, playing the first 63 minutes before he was replaced by former Monroe Community College standout Jordan Sullivan.
Former Greece Athena star and midfielder Antonio LaGamba also made his first Lancers appearance, coming on for the start of the second half.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Lady Lancers dropped a 1-0 decision to New Jersey Copa FC in a United Women’s Soccer game.
The Lancers men will hit the road for games, playing at Cleveland SC on Saturday, May 30 and then at the Erie Commodores on Sunday, June 6. They return home to host the Pittsburgh Hotspurs at Aquinas in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday, June 13 at 5 p.m.
The Lady Lancers will welcome the Lancaster Inferno in the opener in a UWS match at 2 p.m.
Because COVID-19 protocols are in a constant flux due to New York State regulations, visit www.RochesterLancers.com or check out the team on Twitter at @Lancers.com to see how many people are allowed to attend future games.