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Thunder Can’t Stop Rough Riders

Stephen Roche’s three goals led the Long Island Rough Riders to a dominant win over the F.A. Euro New York on Tuesday evening at Aviator Sports Center. The Rough Riders moved up to 2nd place in the Mid Atlantic Division and have dramatically improved their chances to make the 2013 USL PDL playoffs.

The visiting Rough Riders tried to establish themselves as the attacking force early in the game, focusing on a strong midfield. The F.A. Euro chose to sit back, focusing on a solid defense and looking to bring danger to the visitors through counter attacks. Their game plan took the first hit in the 19th minute when Roche scored a goal for the ages.  When F.A. Euro’s goalkeeper Alex Naples punched out a Rough Riders corner kick, Roche volleyed it into the back of the net from over 30 yards out to give his side the 1-0 lead.

Only two minutes later, Dominick Sarle got on to the scoreboard after a successful run down the left flank. He beat his defender, cut inside and chipped the ball over Naples to double the Rough Riders’ advantage. With the weather getting worse and strong winds and rain over the Aviator Sports Center, the visitors seemed to manage the difficult weather conditions a little better.

At 36 minutes, it was Roche again who threatened New York’s goal. With the strong wind in his back, his shot from outside the box was unstoppable and the third goal of the night. Tyler Arnone was able to increase the Rough Riders’ lead even further before half time. His shot from the 20 yard mark was deflected so that Naples couldn’t do anything but watch the ball travel into the opposite corner of the goal for the 4-0 lead going into half time.

As thunderstorms occurred during the intermission, the game continued with a 75-minute delay. The F.A. Euro made five substitutions and came out more aggressive, recording a possession advantage in the 20 minutes after play resumed. While their offense proved to be more agile with Cian McDonald and Alagie Janneh posting four shots, the Rough Riders’ defensive tandem Tom Wharf / Daniel Gwyther was very organized and did not allow any clear chances.

At 73 minutes, Roche was given the opportunity to complete his hat trick when referee Ayo Obisesan awarded the visitors a penalty after Sarle was fouled in the penalty box. Naples stopped the first attempt with his left hand, but when the rebound fell right onto Roche’s feet again, he converted to record his third goal of the night and complete the score at 5-0.

 “This convincing win helps position the team well in order to make a final playoff push”, says Rough Riders vice-president Flavio Ferri. “We are in a good position going into the last two weeks of the regular season with many challenging games.”

With this win, the Rough Riders move up to second place in the Mid Atlantic Division with now 20 points. They are two points behind leading Reading United AC with one game in hand.

The F.A. Euro remain in seventh place with five points.