Neither gloomy weather nor a change in venue could keep the visiting Long Island Rough Riders of the PDL from earning a comfortable 2-0 victory over FC Sonic Lehigh Valley of the NPSL in the opening round of the 2012 US Open Cup.
The match started off cautiously as both teams were feeling out the skills of one another. The score line changed in the 19th minute when Ben Arikian curled a wonderful free kick in front of goal from just outside the 18-yard box on the right wing where it met the head of Tom Wharf. The Rough Riders celebrated and took the lead 1-0 in this important US Open Cup match.
Three short minutes after in the 22nd minute midfielder James Mulligan sent in a low cross from the right flank placed perfectly onto the right foot of Rough Riders veteran Shaun Higgins for the second goal of the game. This gave Long Island a commanding 2-0 lead early on in the game. After the game Higgins said, “The team had great pace tonight, there is plenty of work to do, but we are satisfied with the result and excited to play next week in the second round of the cup."
With neither team being able to make a breakthrough in the second half, both coaches decided on a change of emphasis. FC Sonic coach Dave Weitzman opted for a more attacking approach, bringing in two forwards in for two defenders. Long Island coach Paul Roderick, on the other hand, brought on two defenders in exchange for a forward and a midfielder.
In the end, the changes made little difference, and FC Sonic could muster only one real chance toward the end of the game. Long Island earned its fourth Open Cup victory and are set to face the Harrisburg City Islanders in the second round of the US Open Cup in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on May 22nd.
"This was a great result considering this was our 1st game of the season," said Long Island Rough Riders Vice President Flavio Ferri, "We are looking forward to matching up against the Harrisburg City Islanders in the 2nd Round."
Although absent from last seasons US Open Cup, the Long Island Rough Riders achieved success in the 2010 edition of the tournament. In 2010 the Rough Riders defeated New York Pancyprians-Freedoms 2-0 in the first round of the cup. In the second round they lost to Harrisburg City Islanders
1-0. The winner of this years 2nd Round game will go on to face an MLS franchise in the third round of the competition. Much is at stake in this game and both teams will come well prepared.
About The US Open Cup:
The US Open Cup is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States beginning in 1914. The tournament is open to all amateur and professional teams in the country including Major League Soccer clubs. The current champions are Seattle Sounders FC who currently play in Major League Soccer.
About the Long Island Rough Riders
The Rough Riders, Long Island’s hometown soccer team since 1994. In 1995 both the Rough Riders Men’s and Women’s teams won their first United Soccer League (USL) National Championship. Since their initial success, the Rough Riders Men’s team has gone on to win the 2nd Division National Championship in 2002 while the Rough Riders Women’s team qualified for the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008.
The Rough Riders are known for developing players including former US National Team members Chris Armas, Tony Meola, and MLS All Star Giovanni Savarese and Jimmy Rooney along with US Olympic Team Member and current Junior Rough Riders Coaching Director, John Diffley.
The Rough Riders will enter the 2012 Season looking to build off of an impressive 2011 Season. With the Men’s Team having the best record in the Eastern Conference at 12-1-3, they claimed the title of 2011 Mid Atlantic Division Champions and Eastern Conference Champions. The Rough Riders are looking forward to another successful season in 2012, with both the Men’s and the Women’s Team ready to challenge for a National Championship.
Be sure to support the Rough Riders when they begin 2012 USL season at Cy Donnelly Stadium (St. Anthony’s High School- South Huntington, NY) this Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 7:00PM as they take on Reading United AC.
To purchase tickets for the double header match visit www.liroughriders.com/tickets or contact the Rough Rider Office at 516-622-3900.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
FC Sonic Lehigh Valley 0 0 0
Long Island Rough Riders 2 0 2
19th Minute- Rough Riders- Tom Wharf (Ben Arikian)
22nd Minute- Rough Riders- Shaun Higgins (James Mulligan)
FC Sonic- Andy Adlard, Cody Antonini, Ali Famili, James Graf (Tyler Fenstermacher-62’) , Patrick Letourneau, Joe Sales, Nathan Squire, Brandon Turner (Brian Suchoski- 74’), Kevin Strunk, Travis Cantrell, Charlie Sales
Rough Riders- Ben Arikian, Stephan Barea, Keith Detelj (Adam Weinzimer- 62’), Adriano Gabriele
(Tom Booth- 74’), James Mulligan, James Nealis, Timothy Parker, Tom Wharf, Matthew Wendelken, Danny Kramer, Shaun Higgins
FC Sonic LI Rough Riders
Shots On Goal (Total) 5 (8) 11 (18)
Saves 11 5
Fouls 9 7
Corners 2 4
Offside 1 2
Yellow Card- Brandon Turner (FC Sonic)
Yellow Card- Cody Antonini (FC Sonic)
Referee: Michael Donahan
Assistant Referees: Eric Weisbrad, TJ Zablocks
Fourth Official: Jerry Werel
Weather: Rainy 70 Degrees
Courtesy of TheCup.Us
Contributor Daniel Weberman