The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, face their stiffest test of the 2019 campaign to date when unbeaten Reading United AC visit on June 5.
Kickoff is 8 p.m. from Hofstra University Soccer Stadium.
Long Island comes into the match after earning four points from back-to-back contests this past weekend. The Rough Riders (3-1-1; 10 points) defeated New York Red Bulls Under-23 2-1 on Saturday and drew 2-2 with FA Euro New York on Sunday in a weather-shortened contest.
Reading United AC, the 2018 national runner-up, is flawless at 4-0-0 and currently atop the Eastern Conference Mid Atlantic Division standings with 12 points.
“It’s a massive game against the team who last year I believed were the best in the country and have obviously had a great start again this year,” Rough Riders head coach Stephen Roche said. “It’s too early to be looking at league tables but a result will prove to everyone, most importantly ourselves, what we are capable of doing this season.”
Long Island took all three points from local rivals Red Bulls U-23 on a match-winning goal by Anthony Alfonso in the 87th minute as the Rough Riders erased a 1-0 halftime deficit. The team dominated possession against FA Euro less than 24 hours later, but the seesaw game ended in a draw, with the match being halted in the 74th minute due to inclement weather.
Renato Kauzlaric was instrumental in three goals for the Rough Riders over the weekend, setting up Alfonso’s winner Saturday then having a goal and an assist Sunday.
“Reno has been terrific,” Roche said. “He is a player with a very bright future and is fast becoming one of our most influential players.”
Reading United AC comes into the match following consecutive shutout victories: 3-0 against FA Euro on May 25 and 1-0 against Cedar Stars Rush on May 28. The division leaders have allowed four goals, while scoring 12 in four games so far this season.
“I’m happy the game comes so quickly,” Roche said. “We can take the belief from Saturday’s game and we will have a little more motivation now after Sunday’s disappointing result. The players will be well up for the game against Reading.”
BY: Michael LoRé