A tale of two halves at Cy Donnelly Stadium ended in triumph for the Long Island Rough Riders.
The Rough Riders stayed on top of their opponent, AC Connecticut, with constant pressure from their forwards. The Rough Riders held possession and used their full-backs to attack on the wings. Right-back, Daniel Kramer, got behind the defense and played a ball into the middle of the box that found the arm of an AC Connecticut defender and was awarded a penalty. Dominic Marshall stepped up and beautifully placed the ball into the bottom left corner to put Long Island up 1-0.
The Rough Riders kept pressure on throughout the first half and won a corner in stoppage time. Marshall whipped the ball into the box and Dominic Iovino laid it off perfectly for River Seybolt, who put Long Island up 2-0 at half.
AC Connecticut’s head coach, Alex Harrison, calmed his team down at the break and brought on Kobe Ntumbanzondo and there was a clear difference in the team’s play. Connecticut did a better job holding possession and were rewarded in 54th minute. Kobe broke through the defense and slotted the ball past the keeper to pull a goal back.
Connecticut continued to attack the Rough Riders and won a corner in the 62nd minute. A loose ball in the box was back-heeled into the goal by James Randall and the game was even at 2-2.
The Rough Riders would make substitutions and start to regain their form the first half. The Rough Riders were able to dominate the final 20 minutes of the game and create numerous chances. However, Connecticut applied a moment of pressure that forced Rough Riders keeper, Jonathan Rico, to make three saves in a two-minute span. After that was dealt with the Rough Riders pushed forward in an attempt to secure three points at home. The Rough Riders won another stoppage time corner. The ball flew into the box and was mishandled by AC Connecticut’s keeper. Dominc Marshall took it off the bounce and placed it into the back of the net for the game winner.
The Long Island Rough Riders will play again away from home on June 10th, against Western Mass.