A season saving victory against Lehigh Valley has the PDL first team (1-6-0) riding into a matchup vs. the Long Island Rough Riders (5-1-0) with their heads up higher than before.
Two goals made the difference on Saturday as Adam Marcu netted the first in the 16' minute, and Cheick Karembega with the second coming in the 51' minute. Both scored their first of the season. Marcu spoke with I-95 Sports Network after his teams first victory of the 2018 season. "We need to continue raising our game. Continue believing that goals will flow, and to continue listening to Coach Ferdi along with the rest of his staff when they demand that we be more ruthless and take half-chances."
FA Euro outshot Lehigh by 8-7, but began giving up a few chances down the stretch of the game, but luckily nothing came from it. None of the shots were on goal by the team based in Pennsylvania.
The team was without their starting goalkeeper Oliver Foss Hansen, who was recovering from a hip flexor strain suffered against Reading last Wednesday back in Brooklyn. The second start in as many years for Matt Dabrowski against this Lehigh Valley team in as many years, has won both contests against the Allentown based team. "I'd say a lot of our success in these games [vs. Lehigh Valley] come from the guys in front of me. The defenders play well to minimize their threat, and our midfielders and forwards pin them in their own half."
A couple of weeks ago against the Rough Riders in Brooklyn, a controversial ending to the game as Matthew Sloan scored the game's lone and winning goal on a penalty kick that resulted in a crushing defeat for the PDL first team in their third game of the short season. Coach de Matthaeis had some words for the critics of the officiating in the contest. "There is nothing we can do about the referees or opponents. I always tell the boys that there's three things that we can control, our attitude, concentration, and effort."
In the first game since 2016 vs. Long Island, FA Euro held their own a majority of the match. Rough Riders outshot the first team 9-8.
The Long Island Rough Riders played host to the top team in the Eastern Conference, Reading United AC. A hard fought battle led to a 1-1 draw last Saturday. The tie kept the Rough Riders three points behind the top spot in the division. The top two teams in each division make the PDL playoffs.
This contest features the return of Robi Sillah, who was suspended five games for an alleged incident against the New York Red Bulls U23 squad in Whippany in the second game of the first teams' season. Captain and top defender Johan Mauritzon is set to return after missing two games after re-aggravating his hamstring. Zhurabek Khusanboev is also set to return to the roster. Bek has been on the shelf for the previous two games due to suspension and injury respectfully. Midfielder/Defender Nico Anderson has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2018 season with a high ankle sprain. Oliver Hansen is listed as probable to return against his former team.
The game can be viewed on the I-95 Sports and Entertainment Network by visiting i95sportsnetwork.com or logging on to the Rough Riders YouTube page. Eric Kravit and Will Canova have the call starting at 7:30pm.