The Long Island Rough Riders and rival New Jersey Copa FC meet for the first time since the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.
Kickoff is 8 p.m. on June 27 at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor Township, N.J.
The Rough Riders, who defeated NJ Copa FC 5-1 last season in the conference final, come into this campaign’s encounter following a 2-2 draw against Connecticut Fusion on June 16. Madison Vasquez and Kayla Saager scored second-half goals as Long Island rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to earn the draw.
“We went down 2-0, but actually had a good start to the game,” first-year head coach Karim Diallo said. “We missed a couple of 1-on-1s with the goalie and we also had a goal called back for offside all within the first 10-15 minutes. We made a couple of bad mistakes and got punished for them, but credit the players who were able to push the tempo a bit more in the second half and tie the game.”
The Rough Riders (2-2-2) sit in the jam-packed middle of the United Women’s Soccer East Conference at eight points, trailing first-place Rochester (14 points) by six points. NJ Copa FC (2-3-1), coming off a 1-0 loss to Inferno Rush on June 23, is just one point behind Long Island at seven points.
Wednesday’s match was originally scheduled as the season opener on May 12, but was postponed due to inclement weather.
Knowing the opportunities to accumulate points are getting fewer as the season’s final weeks approach, Long Island is maintaining its one-game-at-a-time mentality, putting the onus on the next match.
“The next game, the game against Copa, is the only game we are looking at,” Diallo said. “We will play as if this was our last game of the season and we need to get a positive result. At the moment it’s the only game in our calendar. After Wednesday we can start thinking about the next game, but not now.”
BY: Michael LoRé