The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, conclude the 2019 regular season with a pair of road matches this weekend.
Long Island visits Cedar Stars Rush on Friday, July 12. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J.
The team follows that up with their regular-season finale at Ocean City Nor’easters on Sunday, July 14. Kickoff is 7 p.m. from Carey Stadium in Ocean City, N.J.
The Rough Riders are 5-1-6 (21 points) on the season. Long Island, which is currently in the midst of a nine-game unbeaten stretch, is third in the Mid Atlantic Division behind Reading United AC (9-1-3; 30 points) and Ocean City (6-3-4; 22 points).
Long Island needs to win its final two games and get some help in other divisions in order to earn the wild card berth into the Eastern Conference playoffs. The three division winners and one wild card with the highest point total qualify for the postseason.
“We are still well up for it,” head coach Stephen Roche said. “Crazier things have happened and we know all we can do is take care of our games. We will do all we can to win Friday night and put the pressure on.”
The Rough Riders come into the weekend following a 0-0 draw against Evergreen FC on July 6. It was the team’s sixth draw in the past nine matches. Roche said he believes the team left points on the board against FA Euro (2-2) on June 2, Lehigh Valley United (1-1) on June 22 and Evergreen FC (0-0) on July 6.
“We have to be better in the final third,” Roche said. “We have defended very well all season, but just need to be a bit more clinical and create more chances with our possession.”
Regardless, the Rough Riders need to handle the task at hand with a quick turnaround.
Cedar Stars (4-6-3; 15 points) come into the match following a 3-2 loss against Reading United AC on Wednesday. Ocean City was the first side to defeat 2018 national runner-up Reading this season, winning 4-1 on July 7.
BY: Michael LoRé