The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive PDL affiliate of New York City FC, look to get back into the winning column against rival New York Red Bulls Under-23 on June 30.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. from Hofstra University Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.
The Rough Riders come into the match following a 1-0 defeat to PDL Mid-Atlantic Division leaders Reading United AC on June 24. Long Island (8-3-1 overall, 7-2-1 PDL) remains second in the division, trailing Reading United (9-0-1; 28 points) by six points with four matches remaining. The Red Bulls U-23 (7-2-0) are third with 21 points from nine matches.
“We are both battling for a playoff spot so it should be a very exciting game,” first-year head coach Stephen Roche said. “They are in great form and we are unbeaten at home, so something has to change on Saturday night and we are fully prepared to ensure that we get the result we need.”
Long Island played consecutive matches last weekend, winning one and losing the other. Charlie Ledula scored twice as the Rough Riders beat Lehigh Valley United 2-1 on June 23, but had their four-match unbeaten streak snapped by undefeated Reading United the next evening.
“We didn’t perform well on Saturday and were lucky to win the game against a very well-coached Lehigh team,” Roche said. “On Sunday we were excellent and didn’t deserve to lose the game. We made one mistake and were punished for it, but that’s football. I was very proud of our performance and the character we continue to show.”
Ledula’s brace over the weekend brings his team-leading goal tally to eight goals in all competitions (six in PDL). The Rough Riders continue to boast the second-best defense in the division, having allowed seven goals in 10 matches, including just three in their past six matches.
New York, the highest-scoring team in the division (31 goals), comes into the weekend riding high on a three-match win streak, having outscored opponents 17-2 with a pair of shutouts. The Red Bulls U-23 most recently defeated FA Euro New York 7-0 on June 25.
“It’s the perfect game for us to bounce back — at home to an excellent Red Bulls team,” Roche said. “We couldn’t ask for a better game to motivate us.”
BY: Michael LoRé