MADISON, N.J. – In a top of the table clash, the Long Island Rough Riders scored three early goals and held off FC Motown to record a 3-2 victory in a USL League Two encounter at Drew University on Saturday night.
The win kept the Rough Riders (6-1-0, 18 points) in the Metropolitan Division lead as FC Motown (4-2-2, 14), which started the day in second place, fell to third. Manhattan SC (5-1-0, 15) won its match to take second on Saturday.
Ryan Carmichael tallied twice, and Niklas Roessler added a goal before FC Motown staged a second-half rally.
“It was a real nail-bitter,” Rough Riders head coach Tom Bowen said.
Bowen was a bit concerned because the team arrived late at the stadium.
“We jumped out the car with like half an hour before kickoff,” he said. “Guys were scrambling to get ready. Didn’t have much of a warm-up. So we started that quickly, which was really good. We might get rid of warm-ups from now on, I think.”
Of course, Bowen was only kidding.
Roessler got the Long Island on the board in the 11th minute, converting a free kick from just outside the box past goalkeeper Konstantin Weis.
Carmichael doubled the margin in the 20th minute, volleying the ball home before he found the net three minutes later for his fifth goal of the campaign.
The visitors’ halftime lead could have been greater.
Bowen said that Carmichael “two big chances to get his “hat-trick.”
“We could have gone four or five up before halftime,” he added. “We got in at three, which obviously we were delighted with.”
FC Motown, however, rallied in the second half behind a pair of goals by Peter Stroud, who scored in the 57th minute and added a penalty kick on the hour past goalkeeper Wessel Speel.
“The second half they obviously came out with nothing to lose and threw everything at us,” Bowen said. “If we got the fourth or the fifth that would have been game over and they couldn’t really afford they could get back into it.
“It was just a nail-biter towards for the last 20 minutes. We defended well. We hung on a little bit. It was a lot more uncomfortable than they should have been because we really absolutely dominated them first half.”
The Rough Riders began a six-game road swing on Saturday night. They return home to host the Westchester Flames at Mitchel on Sunday, July 10 at 6 p.m.