After a couple seasons, I was finally able to make my way up to All-High Stadium to catch an FC Buffalo home match.
The final result was less than favorable in a game tainted by officiating so terrible you had to wonder if they were on the payroll. However, I really enjoyed taking in the game with a few hundred other fans on a very nice
Thursday Friday evening. Based on what I saw, FC Buffalo has a small and loyal following that is allowing the team to start getting its fingers into some more curious and casual soccer fans. The product is adequate for the level that the team is currently at. This is a semi-pro league with some very good athletes who are capable of putting on an entertaining live game. Lastly, the Blitzers’ royal blue kits are a thing of beauty that wouldn’t be out of place when comparing kits from the MLS.
In talking to a few people at the game, it certainly seems as if there is a continued upward trajectory with this club. As of right now they’re making slow improvements, but it certainly seems as if there is a noticeable upward trend to what is going on with the club. As someone who is very much a casual soccer fan, I wouldn’t dare speculate or try to draw conclusions about the club, but from seeing one game it is obvious that there is a solid foundation to build on with FC Buffalo.
Personally, I’d love to see them play their home games at a better venue. Not to say All-High Stadium is inadequate, because it is actually an ideal venue for the size of the current crowds, but I think that tying FC Buffalo to a multi-use venue somewhere in the city would be a wise move.
If the funding could be secured to construct a multi-use venue somewhere closer to downtown – perhaps on the massive undeveloped space called the outer harbor – the Blitzers (and WNY Flash) would have a permanent home to play in while also providing space for summer concerts, festivals and other sporting events. Basically, if you were to take Sahlen’s Stadium, scale it down by 3,000 seats and plop it on the outer harbor, you would have an ideal venue for the Blitzers to grow into. This could also serve as the host venue for all WNY high school sports finals that are currently held at the Ralph and other venues. This could also serve as a permanent venue for future concerts right along the water.
I would assume (as have others I’ve spoken with) that a venue such as this plus the Blitzers continued success could not only increase exposure in the area, but it could potentially help the team grow into a more successful league in terms of North American professional soccer. I’d love to see this eventually become an MLS club, but a 10,000 seat stadium wouldn’t do the trick in that regard.
Obviously I’m dreaming a little big here about eventually getting an MLS club. That is probably far too many years down the road to be a realistic scenario. However, providing the region with a venue capable of hosting any number of different events is something that probably shouldn’t be overlooked.
Not only would this be a more appropriate sized venue for section VI playoffs (namely football, soccer and lacrosse), it would also be perfect for hosting the Far West finals, state playoffs and other yearly tournaments. That alone would keep the venue pumping from April or May up until September and October. Obviously home games for the soccer teams (FC Buffalo and WNY Flash) would fill some of the schedule with other festivals, concerts and events helping to round out the yearly docket.
I wouldn’t expect this to take events from Canalside (Thursday at the Harbor) or Coca-Cola Field (Wing Fest etc.); I would expect it to help draw additional events and bigger names for concerts. I would also expect to be part of the improvements for both of WNYs professional soccer teams.
Besides, wouldn’t it be great for Alex Morgan to reside and, play games and go out in the city every summer? At least she has been saying that in all the texts she has been sending me.
UPDATE: Apparently Alex Morgan no longer plays for WNY Flash. So, just add in a trade for Alex Morgan and then build a stadium.