The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive PDL affiliate of New York City FC, face their stiffest test of the 2018 season against Mid-Atlantic Division leaders Reading United AC.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. on June 9 at Hofstra University Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.
The Rough Riders (6-2-0 overall, 5-1-0 PDL) and unbeaten Reading United AC (5-0-0) are tied atop the division with 15 points apiece, but Reading United AC holds the slight advantage based on tiebreakers.
“Reading are an excellent team and very good at both ends of the field,” first-year head coach Stephen Roche said. “They have an incredible defensive record so far and head coach Alan McCann will have them very well organized.
“It will be a very exciting game. Both teams are going in full of confidence.”
Long Island is coming into the match on the heels of a 3-0 victory against Lehigh Valley United on June 6. Tyler Botte gave the home side a lead in the first minute, and Charlie Ledula doubled the advantage in the 21st minute. Sebastian Gordillo’s free kick goal in the 82nd minute sealed all three points for Long Island, which bounced back from a 2-0 loss to Ocean City Nor’easters on June 3.
“It was important to get back to winning ways straight away,” Roche said. “And to also get a shutout was very important.”
Ledula, a midfielder, has five goals in all competitions this season for the Rough Riders. He scored twice in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup first round win (6-3 aet) against Kingston Stockade FC on May 9.
“Charlie has the ability to score every game,” Roche said. “He brings a lot of other qualities to the table as well, but in good form he can be lethal in front of goal.”
Not only has Ledula been finding success in front of net, Gordillo has been hitting his stride as well. The midfielder had one goal and two assists in the 5-1 win at Evergreen FC on June 2, and found the back of the net midweek against Lehigh Valley. He was named to the PDL National Team of the Week for Week 5.
“Seba has a great attitude and works hard on his game, so we are all very happy for him and the success he has had over the last couple of weeks,” Roche said. “He is the type of kid who will keep his head down and work even harder now to ensure his run of good form continues.”
Reading United AC come into Saturday’s contest following a 2-0 win against FA Euro New York on June 6. Reading has allowed just one goal this season — in a 2-1 win against New York Red Bulls Under-23 on June 2 — while scoring two goals in each game.
BY: Michael LoRé