Match Recap: Men vs. Hudson Valley Hammers

Written by Michael Lewis

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Long Island Rough Riders suffered their first defeat of the USL League Two season, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Hudson Valley Hammers at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Sunday night.

The win gave the unbeaten Hammers (5-0-0, 15 points) undisputed possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division while the Rough Riders (9) fell to 3-1.

Hudson Valley drew first blood in the 21st minute when Nicholas Zielanka latched onto a pass and fired a shot from the left side past goalkeeper Eryk Dymora for a 1-0 lead.

Hofstra University standout and Rough Riders center back Pierce Infuso, playing his first game of the League 2 season, made sure his second point-blank header found the back of the net for the 24th-minute equalizer. After a corner kick traveled over everyone’s head to the left side, Justin McLean sent in a long cross from that flank that Infusio headed home on the right side past goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton for a 1-1 tie.

The Hammers, however, retook the lead at 2-1 only seven minutes later in the 31st minute on a marvelous 24-yard strike by Israel Neto, who netted his fifth goal of the campaign. 

In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, Long Island averted disaster and a potential own goal. With Neto on back, defender Pau Ferrier Collado sent a back pass from the left side of the box to Dymora. The keeper scrambled back to the net, swatting the ball out of harm’s way just before it was about to cross the goal line.

For a good part of the second half, Hudson Valley did a good job of intercepting balls at midfield and making the Rough Riders work hard to get the ball out of the back and past midfield.

A good portion of the final 15 minutes was played in the Hammers’ half of the field, but the hosts could get only a handful of chances in their attempt to net the equalizer.

The Rough Riders were awarded a free kick from 20 yards out on the left side in the 86th minute, but playmaking midfielder Ethan Derel-Daks could not curl it into the far-right post.

A pair of second-half substitutes teamed for Hudson Valley’s insurance goal in the 88th minute as Nicholas Sanchez’s right-wing feed set up Samuel Epitime’s tally from 10 yards for the final score of the match.

The Rough Riders will host the Manhattan Soccer Club at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m.  They hit the road to face Morris Elite in Madison, N.J. on Saturday, June 15 before returning home for three consecutive contests. The Riders then will welcome the Westchester Flames on Wednesday, June 19, Staten Island Athletic Sporting Club on Wednesday, June 26, and Cedar Stars Academy on Sunday, June 30.


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