UWS Preview: Rough Riders, Surf Eye Playoff Spots

UWS, United Women's Soccer, UWS, Long Island Rough Riders, New York Surf

The stretch run of the United Women’s Soccer (UWS) season will begin this weekend and the three New York area teams will be in action with playoff spots on the line.

This season, the top two teams from the conference will face off in the 2017 East Final on Tuesday, July 18, with the regular season champion tentatively slated to host the match. The UWS Championship is slated for July 21-22 with further details to be announced soon.

• FRIDAY, JUNE 30
Long Island Rough Riders vs. Rochester Lady Lancers
5 p.m. — Saint Anthony’s H.S. (South Huntington, NY)

The Long Island Rough Riders (4-1-1 East) are looking to rebound from its first lost of the season this past Sunday at the hands of New Jersey Copa FC (6-1-1). The two budding adversaries have gone back-and-forth over their first two seasons in the UWS East, with Long Island picking up the first win in their season series in Week II play.

But New Jersey came from behind in an important 2-1 win that vaulted Copa over the Rough Riders into sole position of first place in the conference. The top two teams in the East will compete against each other for the berth into the 2017 UWS Championship. With the loss, Long Island has now dropped back into fourth place but they do have games in hand.

After four straight on the road, the Rough Riders will return home for three of their final four games, starting Friday when they host the Rochester Lady Lancers (0-7-1 East) in the rubber match of their season series. In their first meeting between the two teams in Week IV, the Lady Lancers gave their hosts a battle. Rochester could not take advantage of their first half scoring chances, while Long Island held the run of play in the second half in a 2-0 road win. Morgan Santoro came off the bench and netted the game-winner in the 60th minute while in the 79th minute, Kayla Saager tallied the insurance goal.

New York Magic vs. New York Surf
6 p.m. — Poly Prep Country Day School (Brooklyn, NY)

The New York Surf (4-2-2 East) are still in the mix for the East playoffs, but with only two regular season games remaining, they will need to post victories in both matches for the best possible chance to qualify. There is further motivation for the Surf on Saturday, as they make the short road trip to Brooklyn to take on the New York Magic (0-5-1 East) in the rubber match of their New York City derby. After that, they will finish off their campaign at home on Saturday, July 8, with a potentially big finale against the Long Island Rough Riders.

In the first match of the NYC derby on Saturday, June 10, the Surf recorded a 5-0 win over the Magic at SUNY Maritime. Forward Furtuna Velaj scored twice while goalkeeper Colleen Hickey got the shutout.

• SUNDAY, JULY 2
New England Mutiny vs. New York Magic
3 p.m. — E. Longmeadow H.S. (E. Longmeadow, MA)

The New York Magic will have their own tough turnaround to deal with this weekend as they travel north to western Massachusetts to face their old rival New England at East Longmeadow High School.

In their last match-up on Sunday, June 4, the Mutiny were also on the back end of a two-game weekend. New England goalkeeper Gabby Arruda made her first start of the season, and she proved her worth with a pair of fine stops in the first half, while a late goal gave the visitors a 1-0 win. The second half saw the Mutiny find more joy in the offensive end, as they battled the Magic’s offside trap (9-1 in offsides). In the 86th minute, defender Lauren Aldrich took advantage of a lapse in the Magic defense and converted on her breakaway off a throw-in.