Match preview: Cedar Stars Rush at Rough Riders
May 2019

The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, begin their 2019 campaign against league newcomers Cedar Stars Rush on Saturday, May 11.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. from Hofstra University Soccer Stadium.

The Rough Riders are looking to get off to a good start this summer with six of their first seven matches at home. Long Island went 10-5-1 overall and 9-4-1 in the PDL last season, falling just short of the playoffs.

“Everyone was disappointed to miss out on the playoffs last season as we fell just short,” head coach Stephen Roche said. “No excuses. We know we need to be better this year to push on.”

Like many teams in USL League Two, the Rough Riders have seen wholesale changes from 2018 to 2019. Roche, in his second season, will be relying on veteran returnees including captain Tom Wharf, Shaun Foster, Dan Gwyther and Tyler Botte to help get the new players up to speed.

“Going back to my playing days, I always remember us having a great locker room,” said Roche, who suited up for the Rough Riders from 2013-17. “The older guys set the scene for everyone else and younger college guys always love being in this environment. We have a great mix of nationalities and characters so this season will be no different.”

Coming into this season, Long Island will have two major holes to fill.

The team will need to replace midfielder/forward Charlie Ledula, who led the Rough Riders with 12 goals in all competitions (10 in PDL) in 2018. Long Island will also have a new face between the pipes as both Dylan Castanheira (Atlanta United 2) and Danny Vitiello (Nashville SC) signed contracts with USL Championship sides this offseason.

Roche said Josh Levine (Penn State University) will likely make his club debut Saturday against Cedar Stars Rush.

“It’s part of the job in USL League Two that you need to basically have a whole new squad every year,” Roche said.

BY: Michael LoRĂ©
Staff Writer