Rough Riders Women, Men Back Home Seeking Playoff Position

Long Island Rough Riders, PDL

It will be another Saturday doubleheader for the Long Island Rough Riders as the men’s and women’s teams will be in action on Saturday at Hofstra Soccer Stadium.

In United Women’s Soccer play, the Rough Riders will welcome the Worcester Smiles to Hempstead for a 5 p.m. kickoff. The men will be back on the pitch in PDL action vs. Evergreen FC with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.

The women are looking to build off their 3-2 win over the New England Mutiny as Kayla Saager, Kim Marra and Laura Gomez provided the offense for Long Island. Goalkeeper Kelsey Daugherty made eight saves, including a pair of highlight-reel stops, to earn a spot on the UWS Team of the Week.

“We didn’t do anything different,” said Karim Diallo, head coach. “Like I have said before, for the most part, we’ve had the right mentality going into games but just haven’t executed well to start them and have gotten punished. It was great to be up 2-0 and control most of the first half.”

Long Island improved to 3-3-2 (11 points) following the victory, which snapped a three-match winless skid. The Rough Riders are in the middle of a congested East Conference, which is led by Inferno Rush (5-2-0) and Western NY Flash (5-2-0) at 15 points apiece.

“The mentality and attitude stay the same,” Diallo said. “It’s how I’ve always coached my teams at all levels. We take it one game at a time. We learn from our mistakes in the past and try to improve on the things we did well. The next game is always the one that counts, therefore the most important. On Saturday we want to perform well and get a positive result.”

The men are coming off consecutive defeats for the first time all season, losing 1-0 to Reading United AC on June 24 and 4-3 to New York Red Bulls Under-23 on June 30.

“As always we won’t feel sorry for ourselves,” said Stephen Roche, the team’s head coach. “We know the playoffs are still in our own hands, so we are looking forward to Saturday and playing in front of our home supporters.”

Long Island (8-4-1 overall, 7-3-1 PDL) is currently third in the PDL Mid-Atlantic Division with 22 points. Unbeaten Reading United (10-0-2) leads the division at 32 points, while Red Bulls U-23 (8-2-1) are second with 25 points.

Against the Red Bulls, Long Island got goals from Charlie Ledula (2) and Matt Vasquenza in the loss.

“Obviously it was a disappointing result and we had some defensive mistakes,” Roche said. “Overall it was actually a very good performance, but you can’t defend like that against a top-class team and expect to win a game.”