Arthur Bosua and Junior Rosero each scored a goal to lead the Long Island Rough Riders past the Myrtle Beach Mutiny 2-0 in the PDL Eastern Conference Championship Semifinal on Saturday night on the campus of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga.
Long Island advances to the 2017 PDL Eastern Conference Championship against the winner of Seacoast United-Charlotte at 8 p.m. Sunday.
“I’m thrilled for them because they’re putting in the work day in and day out,” Rough Riders head coach Flavio Ferri said. “I never heard a complaint from these guys no matter what I’ve asked them to do. It also helps we’ve played one system all year and it takes time to get used to. The guys know their roles and we’re getting better as time goes on.”
With the game scoreless in the 64th minute, Long Island (10-2-4), which qualified for the four-team conference championship with a play-in victory over New York Red Bulls Under-23 on Tuesday, gained possession in the midfield. Shaun Foster chipped the ball toward the top of the Mutiny box as Bosua out-jumped a defender to gain control, but was clattered into by Myrtle Beach goalie Erich Marscheider. The referee pointed to the spot and a minute later, Bosua’s powerful shot beat Marscheider to his right for a 1-0 advantage.
The goal — Bosua’s team-leading seventh — was a welcomed reward following a great spell of pressure by the visitors to open the second half after what was a pretty tentative first 45 minutes by both sides not looking to fall behind, but also dealing with the approximately 100-degree heat index on the field.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime, including the decision to go at them more, and the guys carried them out perfectly,” Ferri said. “We were tight defensively in the second half, too. Myrtle Beach got caught out a few times and we were able to take advantage.”
Myrtle Beach (10-2-3), winners of the South Atlantic Division, threw players forward in search of the equalizer, but Long Island sealed the victory with a second goal in stoppage time. The ball was cleared to Tyler Botte at midfield, who lofted it across the field to a wide-open Rosero, who dribbled all alone on net and blasted a shot past Marscheider to solidify the Rough Riders’ spot in the Eastern Conference Championship.
“We had two chances before that to kill the game but were unable to,” Ferri said. “They were pushed up and it was just a matter of time we were able to score the game clincher.”
Long Island extended its unbeaten run to five games, while snapping the Mutiny’s 10-game unbeaten streak.
“The season started with 70-plus teams and now we’re down to eight and we’re one of them,” Ferri said. “Every game is getting harder and the boys are responding to each challenge. We’re excited about tomorrow.”
BY: Michael LoRé