The Long Island Rough Riders women’s team emphasized finishing in practice this week and it clearly showed in a 3-0 United Women’s Soccer win against New Jersey Copa FC on Saturday afternoon at Cy Donnelly Stadium on the campus of St. Anthony’s High School.
Morgan Santoro had one goal in each half and Taylor Elliott capped the scoring as the Rough Riders defeated the 2016 UWS runner-ups for their first victory of the season.
“They went really far last year, so this is a great win for us moving forward,” Santoro said. “We had a bunch of chances last week that we couldn’t finish (in a 1-1 draw), so in practice we were working on finishing a lot. Today we did a great job putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Both teams had their fair share of chances in the first half, but it wasn’t until Santoro’s goal in the 36th minute that broke the deadlock. Defender Taylor Groth lofted a pass from the right side toward the top of the box that Santoro trapped, beat a defender then slid a left-footed shot into the far bottom corner for a 1-0 lead.
Long Island (1-0-1, 4 points) maintained a one-goal advantage at halftime.
The Rough Riders doubled their lead in the 65th minute on Santoro’s second of the game. The forward faked a shot to make a defender miss then rifled the ball into the corner.
“We’ve been practicing on being attack-minded and we just finished our chances more this game,” Santoro said. “We were struggling to finish our chances up top last game, but today we did a great job.”
Elliott’s long-range effort in the 78th minute gave the home side a three-goal lead as the Rough Riders defeated New Jersey Copa FC 3-0 at home for the second consecutive season.
Long Island is idle next weekend before embarking on a four-game road trip beginning Saturday, June 3 at Western New York Flash. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Niagara University.
“Playing away from home is tough, but I think after today’s performance we’ll be on a high so I think we’ll be OK,” Santoro said.