The Long Island Rough Riders, Rochester Lady Lancers, New Jersey Copa FC and the New York Surf are in action in United Women’s Soccer East action this weekend.
New England Mutiny vs. Worcester Smiles
5:30 PM ET – Agawam H.S. (Agawam, Mass.)
When the two Massachusetts based sides met in Week III, it was the Smiles who came away with a 1-0 victory, backed by a 34th minute strike from Sydney Fisher. Anthony Cosky’s side has been attacking with more consistency recently, with getting goals from four different contributors in two matches. And after conceding a rather untidy nine goals to Rochester on May 20, seeing his defense post a clean sheet against the Mutiny was a welcome sight. With Worcester embarking on a three-match road trip, getting off to a good start on Saturday will be vital.
The last two weeks have come as a challenging stretch for the Mutiny as they surrendered a late equalizer on May 19 to Rochester where after taking a 2-1 lead with five minutes to go in regulation, the Lancers’ leading striker Elin Eklund equalized with only seconds remaining. Combining that with the road loss last week to Worcester, New England have let points slip away in what is turning to be a very tight and competitive East Conference. But, the team begins a stretch of playing three of their next four games at home and would like to duplicate the quick start they had last week against Worcester, as New England’s Marissa Aniolowski was able to be slipped in early on for an early one-on-one chance, to only be denied by Smiles’ keeper Brittany Henderson. If those chances get finished, the scales could start to shift back in the Mutiny’s favor
Western New York Flash vs. Long Island Rough Riders
6:00 PM EDT – D’Youville College (Buffalo, N.Y.)
The Flash are coming off of a bye week feeling pretty good about themselves after a two-match road trip to start 2018. After going 0-1-1 with Long Island in 2017, the Flash went down to Long Island in their first match and picked up an impressive 3-1 victory. University of Buffalo’s heralded striker Carissima Cutrona was at her best in that contest, bagging a pair of goals while goalkeeper Alexis Bach kept the Rough Riders offense at bay by turning in a seven save performance. The Flash garnered three points the following week where their match against the New York Surf was deemed a forfeit due to scheduling issues at the Surf’s home field. So while the extended match lay-off will be challenging, the Flash will look to emulate their opening week performance against Long Island and sweep the season series.
The Rough Riders have had an equal amount of time as the Flash to work on things as the teams’ first head-to-head matchup was the only game Long Island have played so far this year. But business will pick up quickly as Head Coach Karim Diallo will have to navigate a very compact schedule, with his team due to play four matches in eight days. Getting former Manhattan College Jasper and 2017 MAAC Offensive Player of the Year Erica Modena off to a good start was key as she scored the lone goal against Western New York. If she can continue to find the back of the net and have the rest of the Rough Riders’ offensive unit, including Morgan Santoro, who is coming off of a ten-goal season last year and scored twice against the Flash in their 7-0 road victory last June, this could turn out to be a very strong road trip.
Connecticut Fusion vs. Inferno Rush
7 p.m. ET – Farmington Sports Arena (Farmington, Conn.)
Things continue to look very bright for the expansion Connecticut Fusion as their trip last week to Rochester went very successfully, picking up a 4-0 victory and never allowed the Lancers to settle in. Haley Nolan and Tori Sousa each scored a pair of goals and the Fusion tormented the Lancers defense off set pieces, as a pair of Kelly Quigley assists came off corners, finding Nolan both times. And that result came without needing the services of Rachel Morrier, who started off her season by scoring in each of Connecticut’s first two matches. Now with ten goals scored as a team through three matches, this weekend’s encounter gives Head Coach Tom D’Agostino’s side an opportunity to make a statement against a traditionally strong opponent in the Inferno Rush.
The Rush’s opening match last week at New York did not get off to the best of starts as Francisco Cleaves’ side found themselves in a 2-0 hole at halftime. But that set the table for a dramatic second half comeback as recently named UWS Week III Offensive Player of the Week Tesa McKibben and Teresa Rynier each scored a goal and had an assist, while Alexis Rostucher scored in the 89th minute to seal the three points. If that is a sign of things to come for Inferno Rush, watch out because this team has plenty of quality up and down the roster. Which is why this match could become a turning point for either side as whomever comes away with the points could be set for a nice run during the backstretch of the season.
New Jersey Copa FC vs. New York Surf
7 p.m. ET – Mercer County Community College (West Windsor, N.J.)
It hasn’t been an ideal start to 2018 for New Jersey Copa FC. After a season where they won the East Conference Regular Season title last year, their opening match on May 12th was postponed due to poor weather conditions. And when they took to the field for the first time, they ran into an in-form Connecticut Fusion team and conceded four goals. There was a positive to take from that first match as talented striker Jeanine Nunez found the back of the net. Now Head Coach Roberto Aguas will want to see more production from the rest of his unit, as New Jersey are coming off of a 2017 campaign of scoring 23 goals while allowing just seven.
After a 1-0 Opening Day victory over Worcester, a pair of losses have backed the Surf up into the bottom third of the East Conference table. The team had some rough sledding last week as despite getting goals from Jenna Menta and Furtuna Velaj in the first half, they fell 3-2 at home to Inferno Rush. Now, with making the drive down to Central Jersey to take on a team that is also looking for three points, Head Coach Christie Welsh will be looking to get her team fired up in trying to pluck away three points on the road.
Sunday, June 3
Rochester Lady Lancers vs. Long Island Rough Riders
2 p.m. ET – Marina Auto Stadium (Rochester, N.Y.)
This will be Long Island’s second match of the weekend, after squaring off against Western New York on Saturday evening. The Lancers will want to turn around a tough showing last Sunday where they allowed four goals in their home opener against Connecticut. But with four points (1-1-1) so far through three matches, 2018 has already been a nice turnaround for Sal Galvano’s side as the Lancers went winless in 2017. They are feeding off of the strong start that UWS leading goal scorer Elin Eklund has had, with a hat trick at Worcester on May 20th and getting a goal and an assist against New England the day before. The Lancers will be hoping she can continue her early season attacking surge and delight the home fans at the Marina Auto Stadium on Sunday.