Match preview: Rough Riders at Red Bulls U-23
Jul 2019

The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, put their seven-game unbeaten run on the line against New York Red Bulls Under-23 on July 2.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. from Red Bulls Training Facility in Whippany, N.J.

Long Island comes into the match at 5-1-4 (19 points) following a 2-0 win at Evergreen FC on June 29, while New York is 3-3-4 (14 points) after a 2-2 draw at Reading United AC on June 29.

“We are a difficult team to play against and the lads give it everything in every game, so we are difficult to beat,” head coach Stephen Roche said. “We know we have too many draws and need to win more games to push towards the playoffs.”

The Rough Riders extended their unbeaten run to seven games thanks to goals by Manuel Ferriol and Matt Sloan on Saturday. Long Island has three wins and four draws during that streak, closing the gap on Mid Atlantic Division leaders Reading United AC (8-0-3; 27 points) to eight points.

“Saturday was a good win,” Roche said. “We never really got going in the game so to take away three points and a clean sheet was pleasing.”

Josh Levine made five saves to preserve the shutout. The Penn State University redshirt junior has conceded just four goals in eight games between the sticks in his first season with the Rough Riders. Long Island has allowed three goals in the past five matches with two shutouts.

“Josh has had a terrific season in goal,” Roche said. “In front of him we have had a lot of injuries and so we pretty much have a different back four each game, but every player who has stepped in knows the expectations of them and they have done terrific.”

The Red Bulls U-23 has had a streaky season in 2019. After a convincing season-opening win, New York lost three straight, won two in a row and come into Tuesday’s match following four consecutive draws.

“Red Bulls is always a great game,” Roche said. “They are a very good side. They have had an up-and-down season but we know it will be a very exciting game and one we need to win.”

BY: Michael LoRĂ©
Staff Writer