The Long Island Rough Riders open the second half of their United Women’s Soccer schedule on Saturday on the road against the Connecticut Fusion needing points to close the gap on first place Rochester Lady Lancers.
Sitting in fourth place with seven points (2-2-1, W-L-D), the match at the Farmington Sports Arena in Farmington, Conn., also presents a good opportunity for Long Island to pass the Fusion, which currently sits in second place on nine points.
The Rough Riders are coming off its 2-1 home loss to the Lady Lancers on June 9.
“After a loss, it is very important for us to get a positive result to get back on track towards the goal we set at the beginning of the season,” head coach Karim Diallo told LIRoughRiders.com. “The goal is the same as last season — to push to get to the playoffs and the UWS National Championship game. We will keep working towards that.”
Consistency of play has been a challenge this season for the Rough Riders, which in its first five matches of the season have gone Loss-Win-Draw-Win-Loss. In addition, Diallo has continued to press the issue of starting matches strong, something his squad at times has struggled with this season.
In its loss to Rochester, Long Island found itself behind in the first half on goals from Elin Eklund and Brooke Barbuto. Kayla Saager would pull one back in the 75th minute for the Rough Riders, but they were unable to find the equalizer.
“This result was even more difficult to swallow because I told the players in the pregame talk that we’ve made it a bad habit to start games slow and one of these days we might not have it to come back,” Diallo said. “We did push it the second half, but it just wasn’t there for us.”
The Fusion (3-2-0), in their first year in the UWS, come into the contest following a 1-0 loss at Inferno Rush on June 9, which snapped a three-game winning streak.