The Rough Riders got off to winning ways in their home opener of the 2016 PDL season with a 2-0 win over the Westchester Flames on Saturday night. Goals from Tyler Botte in the first half, followed by a second by Junior Rosero, gave the Riders the victory. A missed penalty by center back, Thomas Wharf, limited Long Island’s ability to put the game away as the shot was smashed off the post in the second half. Jamaican goalkeeper Richard Trench, who arrived in New York just this afternoon, earned the clean sheet with a pair of saves and some pivotal distribution at the back.
The Rough Riders opened the score in the 40th minute with a brilliant, low in the corner finish by veteran striker Botte. Westchester center back, Laquan “Marley” McLain made a play for the ball, only to have Botte tuck it through his legs and pass it safely in the corner to the keeper’s left. It was only the second shot on net in the first half by the Rough Riders.
The scoring continued in the second half when Rosero, whose movement between the lines was brilliant all night, turned and cracked a ball into the corner from 30 yards out to make it 2-0.
The story of the game was Long Island’s defense as Gerry Lucey’s squad pressed high all night, stifling any penetration by the Flames through the middle of field. Westchester winger, Brendan Reardon, represented the Flames biggest threat, working from wide areas and attempting the occasional ball over the top.
The Rough Riders now turn their attention to the US Open Cup as they open that campaign Wednesday against Lansdowne Bhoys FC at 7:30pm. Long Island returns to PDL play on Saturday, May 14th against Western Mass at home at 7:30pm.