30th Anniversary – 1st Home Match

Written by Michael Lewis

After dropping their first game in franchise history at the New Jersey Imperials on April 9, the Long Island Rough Riders were forced to wait two weeks to play their next game, which also happened to be the team’s inaugural home match on April 23, 1994.

The outcome, at least on the pitch, wasn’t what the hosts had wanted, but they were quite pleased with the reception from Long Island soccer fans.

An estimated crowd of 3,649 came out to Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. to watch the Rough Riders drop a 1-0 decision to the Detroit Wheels in a U.S. Interregional Soccer League game on April 23.

Substitute Jamie Huff scored in a scramble in front of goalkeeper Chico Mieles for the lone goal of the match in the 63rd minute.

It turned into a frustrating night for the Rough Riders, who held the Wheels to three shots on goal and had two attempts bounce off the crossbar and failed to convert on two other point-blank tries.

Although they lost, the Rough Riders dominated the match with an 8-0 corner-kick advantage. If the contest had been tied at the end of regulation and extratime, the Riders would have won because of the USISL’s experimental tie-breaker rule at the time, which awarded a victory to the team with the most corner kicks.

Getting fans in the seats was just as vital and, in many cases, was considered a win.

“Sure, we’d like to win games, but we’re happy with the show we put on,” Rough Riders president Lou Ederer told Newsday.

“We’re trying to put on an entertaining event that will appeal to the casual fan. We also hope to provide good soccer.”

USISL commissioner Francisco Marcos, who attended the game, walked away impressed.

“This is excellent, but I sort of expected it,” he was quoted by Newsday. “If you build it, they will come. This what it’s all about.”

The Rough Riders would have another opportunity to earn their first victory – against the Jersey Dragons at home a week later on April 30.


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