After having their season opener postponed due to inclement weather, the Long Island Rough Riders women’s team is anxious to take the field for the first time in their 2018 campaign.
The Rough Riders host Western NY Flash in their United Women’s Soccer opener. Kickoff is 5 p.m. from Michael J. Tully Park in North Hempstead, N.Y.
“The cancellation of our season opener against NJ Copa wasn’t a terrible thing because I’ve had a couple more sessions to get familiar with the girls and their tendencies as well as implementing some of the things I’d like to see from them in the games,” first-year head coach Karim Diallo said. “We have had some good training sessions and that makes me a lot more comfortable going into the match Saturday.”
Diallo, who was named head coach May 7, said the Rough Riders want to have the same approach to each game, striving to be mentally, physically, and tactically ready to perform. Long Island also hopes to build off of the success it found in 2017. The Rough Riders went 8-2-2 en route to the UWS National Championship Semifinal, losing to eventual league champion Grand Rapids FC on penalty kicks.
Long Island scored a conference-best 35 goals in the regular season and tied for the second-best defense with 10 goals allowed in 2017. The team returns a handful of players, including UWS East Player of the Year Kim Marra, All-UWS defender Taylor Groth, and All-UWS East midfielder Alexa Schneider.
“Being it’s the first game of the season we don’t really know what to expect from our opponent,” Diallo said. “We will make adjustments if need be once the game gets underway. What I do expect from us is to keep a good shape with and without possession. We want to get off the block quickly and hopefully get the first goal which I think will help us settle a little more and play the way we know how to.”
For tickets this season, call 516-622-3900 or visit www.liroughriders.com/tickets now to be part of the action and so you can say, “I knew them when they played for the Rough Riders!”
BY: Michael LoRé