Men’s Preview vs. Westchester Flames: May 31st

Men’s Preview vs. Westchester Flames: May 31st

Prior to the 2017 PDL season, Long Island Rough Riders head coach Flavio Ferri pointed to a three-game road trip early in the campaign as a pivotal stretch for the team in terms of acquiring points and momentum.

Long Island starts that three-game road trip, playing three games in five days, beginning at the Westchester Flames at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31 at City Park. The Rough Riders play at GPS Portland Phoenix on June 3 and at Seacoast United Phantoms on June 4.

“We are still coming together as a team,” Ferri said. “Three consecutive road games will be a good test for us both from a character standpoint and from a performance one. We will need to pick up some valuable points on the road in order to stay near the top of our division.”

Long Island (2-0-0) is coming off consecutive victories over Westchester (5-1) on May 13 and FC Boston (5-0) on May 20. As exclusive PDL affiliate of New York City FC, the Rough Riders have altered their style of play, playing a possession-based game similar to that of NYCFC and City Football Group. Long Island has shown little growing pains, outscoring opponents 10-1 in two games.

“That’s the challenge every team faces at the beginning of the year, trying to implement a style of play and an identity,” said forward Tyler Arnone, who has a team-leading four goals. “Certainly there’s a learning curve and it isn’t perfect, and it’s expected not to be. It’s been a good adjustment — two wins to start off the year with a ton of goals and off to a good start.”

This is the second meeting between Long Island and Westchester in the early season. After a scoreless first half affected by inclement weather on May 13, the Rough Riders scored three goals in 15 minutes to take a 3-0 lead en route to a 5-1 win at Cy Donnelly Stadium on the campus of St. Anthony’s High School.

The Flames (0-3-1) have one point from four games following a scoreless draw with AC Connecticut on May 27.