The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, begin their inaugural USL League Two campaign against league newcomers Cedar Stars Rush on Saturday, May 11. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. from Hofstra University Soccer Stadium.
Long Island will again play all of its home matches at Hofstra University.
“I’m delighted to be back for my second season with the Rough Riders,” head coach Stephen Roche said. “We were disappointed to miss out on the playoffs last season and we’ll be looking to qualify this year.”
In 2018, the Rough Riders went 10-5-1 overall and 9-4-1 in the PDL, good for third place in the Mid Atlantic Division (28 points). The team had 26 goals for and the second-best defense in the division with 16 goals allowed.
Long Island remains in the Eastern Conference Mid Atlantic Division in the newly rebranded United Soccer League (USL) structure for 2019. The division is comprised of eight teams: Cedar Stars Rush, Evergreen FC, FA Euro New York, Lehigh Valley United, Long Island Rough Riders, New York Red Bulls Under-23, Ocean City Nor’easters, and Reading United AC.
“I expect our conference to be as difficult and enjoyable as always,” Roche said. “Nobody wants easy games and you don’t get any in this conference.”
After beginning their 2019 campaign at home, the Rough Riders remain on Long Island for the following two matches, playing six of their first seven at home. Lehigh Valley United (May 15) and Ocean City Nor’easters (May 22) come to town before the Rough Riders hit the road for the first time against FA Euro on May 28.
Three more home matches against New York Red Bulls Under-23 (June 1), Reading United AC (June 5), and FA Euro (June 19) round out the first half of the season. Long Island is on the road for six of the final seven matches of the campaign, finishing up the 2019 regular-season at Cedar Stars (July 12) and Ocean City (July 14).
“Regardless of home or away it’s very important to get off to a good a good start and get some momentum going,” Roche said. “We started well last season and then with the changeover in our squad we lost our way a little towards the end. I think a good start again and a more consistent group of players will help us make that playoff push.”
2019 Regular Season
May 11: vs. Cedar Stars Rush, 7:30 p.m.
May 15: vs. Lehigh Valley United, 7:30 p.m.
May 22: vs. Ocean City Nor’easters, 7:30 p.m.
May 28: at FA Euro, 7:30 p.m.
June 1: vs. New York Red Bulls Under-23, 7:30 p.m.
June 5: vs. Reading United AC, 7:30 p.m.
June 19: vs. FA Euro, 7:30 p.m.
June 22: at Lehigh Valley United, 7 p.m.
June 26: at Reading United AC, 7 p.m.
June 29: at Evergreen FC, 7 p.m.
July 2: at New York Red Bulls Under-23, 7 p.m.
July 6: vs. Evergreen FC, 7:30 p.m.
July 12: at Cedar Stars Rush, 7:30 p.m.
July 14: at Ocean City Nor’easters, 7 p.m.
BY: Michael LoRé