The Long Island Rough Riders women’s team hasn’t played in two weeks, but for first-year head coach Karim Diallo, the time off has been a good thing, especially with a compact schedule on the horizon.
Long Island plays four games in eight days, beginning with consecutive United Women’s Soccer road matches against Western New York Flash and Rochester Lancers. Kickoff against Western NY is 6 p.m. Saturday at D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. Kickoff against the Lancers is 2 p.m. Sunday at Marina Auto Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.
“We have used the last two weeks to get more practices in so I can have a better feel for the players’ tendencies,” said Diallo, who was named head coach May 7. “I don’t think the two weeks between games is necessarily a bad thing. You definitely want to be in a rhythm by playing every weekend, but we have had the chance to talk about the things we didn’t do well in the first game and hopefully we get better in the second.”
The Rough Riders (0-1-0) had to wait a week to begin their 2018 campaign due to inclement weather, with that match against New Jersey Copa FC being rescheduled for June 27. Long Island lost 3-1 to the Flash on May 19 to start the season. Carissima Cutrona scored twice for Western NY, while Erica Modena got the Rough Riders on the board for the first time this summer.
“We were not very good in transition defense, which I was nervous about before the game even began,” Diallo said. “We talked about it and I believe the team will be much better in that regard Saturday.”
The Flash (2-0-0) have scored three goals in each of their games this season, most recently defeating New York Surf 3-0 on May 20. Rochester (1-1-1) is coming off its first loss of the season, a 4-0 defeat to Connecticut Fusion on May 27. The Lancers’ Elin Eklund leads the UWS in points (9) and goals (4) thanks to a hat trick in a 9-3 win against Worcester on May 20.
After consecutive games this weekend, Long Island returns home for matches against New York Surf (June 6) and Rochester (June 9).
“I am not a big fan of the back-to-back games, but it is what it is,” Diallo said. “Everybody does the same thing, so we have to deal with it. The girls have done it through their youth and college careers so they know what to expect. We will be fine.”
BY: Michael LoRé