The Long Island Rough Riders look to remain in the United Women’s Soccer playoff hunt as they host Worcester Smiles on July 7.
Kickoff is 5 p.m. from Hofstra University Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.
The Rough Riders come into the match following a thrilling 3-2 victory against New England Mutiny on June 30. Long Island took a 2-0 lead after 24 minutes thanks to goals by Kayla Saager and Kim Marra. The Mutiny scored once before halftime to halve the deficit then equalized in the 69th minute on a goal by Sydney Brackett, but the Rough Riders had the final say as Laura Gomez’s goal in the 81st sealed all three points for the home side.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Daugherty made eight saves, including a pair of highlight-reel stops, to earn a spot on the UWS Team of the Week.
“We didn’t do anything different,” first-year head coach Karim Diallo said of the team’s fast start. “Like I have said before, for the most part we’ve had the right mentality going into games but just haven’t executed well to start them and have gotten punished. It was great to be up 2-0 and control most of the first half.
“We played a very good team that gave us a lot of problems but we stayed focused even when they tied the game. It was a good battle until the end.”
Long Island improves to 3-3-2 (11 points) following the victory, which snapped a three-match winless skid. The Rough Riders are in the middle of a congested East Conference, which is led by Inferno Rush (5-2-0) and Western NY Flash (5-2-0) at 15 points apiece.
Worcester (1-7-0; 3 points) comes into the match in the midst of a five-match losing streak. The Smiles, who lost most recently 7-0 to Inferno Rush on July 1, have been outscored 25-2 during that stretch.
“The mentality and attitude stays the same,” Diallo said. “It’s how I’ve always coached my teams at all levels. We take it one game at a time. We learn from our mistakes in the past and try to improve on the things we did well. The next game is always the one that counts, therefore the most important. On Saturday we want to perform well and get a positive result.”
BY: Michael LoRé