Match preview: Rough Riders at Lehigh Valley United
Jun 2019

The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, embark on a four-game roadtrip when they visit Lehigh Valley United on June 22.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa.

The Rough Riders (4-1-2) are unbeaten in their past four games following a 4-1 victory against FA Euro New York on June 19. Matt Sloan scored three goals as Long Island moved into second place in the Mid Atlantic Division standings with 14 points at the midway point of the 2019 season.

The Rough Riders play six of their final seven matches away from home.

“We know it’s going to be very difficult but we look forward to the challenge,” head coach Stephen Roche said. “We feel 16-18 points from these matches are needed to make the playoffs. We know we have to win games.”

Following consecutive draws against FA Euro on June 2 and Reading United AC on June 9, Long Island took home all three points on June 19 in the return match against FA Euro, who were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute following a red card to Filippo Tamburini.

Sloan found the back of the net three times, Tim Estermann scored his first goal of the season and 17-year-old Jason Ramirez made his USL League Two and Rough Riders debut in the victory.

“Matt was terrific; even without his goals he lead the line extremely well,” Roche said. “He found himself in the right spots and took his goals very well. … Jason is fearless. He’s only in high school so it was  great for him to make his debut so young but he’s very capable and proved that by getting an assist.”

Lehigh Valley United (4-5-1; 13 points) come into the match following consecutive losses to FA Euro (4-3 on June 15) and Cedar Stars Rush (3-1 on June 19). Lehigh Valley is in third place in the division, but has played three more matches than the Rough Riders at this point.

Following Saturday’s match, Long Island visits Reading on June 26, Evergreen FC on June 29 and New York Red Bulls Under-23 on July 2 before returning home for the final home match of 2019 against Evergreen FC on July 6. Two more road matches then close out the 2019 regular season.

“Four away games in a row now is a difficult task and Lehigh is a very good side,” Roche said. “They caused us a lot of problems at home [on May 15].”

BY: Michael LoRé
Staff Writer