It looked like it was going to be a long night for the host team, the Long Island Rough Riders.
Kingston Stockade FC took the three hour plus drive from Kingston, NY and along with their fans, the Dutch Guard Supporters Group, they set the tone early in the match. After already beating his mark twice, Pedro Espindola would win the endline battle against Long Island’s Jeffrey Medina and slot a cross that Stockade’s Bruce Jeter would stuff into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.
What possibly could be one of the turning points of the game, Espindola on his next attempt to attack the Long Island goal went down after a tackle and would not be able to finish the game. David Lindholm, head coach for Stockade would be forced into an early substitution replacing Espindola in the 25th with Matel Anasta.
Lindholm said after the game about the switch, “We felt good about the guys we had coming off the bench even though you don’t want to have to make a change like that. You hope that you can cope with that, a team in more than just one player.”
The Rough Riders would be able to hold the visitors at one for the remainder of the half and created a few of their own chances, usually utilizing the pace and skill of left winger Charlie Ledula. Despite their effort Long Island would go into the break trailing 1-0.
Recognizing that he had to be proactive Rough Riders’ head coach, Stephen Roche, would make his first substitution at half time replacing right back Jeffrey Medina with Jacob Bohm. The change would not yield the desired result as Joshua Maley got free on the left side and find Michael Creswick for an easy goal and Stockade FC would double their lead in the 52nd minute.
All they had to do in order to advance is hold on for the remaining 38 minutes. Stockade couldn’t even hold Long Island for five minutes. Shortly after thinking they had already punched their ticket to Louisville for Round 2, Stockade would concede their first of the night. Alex Dexter found himself inside the box near the endline and, from a tight angle, drove a cross into the box where he found Tyler Botte who put it in the back of the net to give the Rough Riders life. Long Island now found themselves trailing 2-1 with just over a half an hour left in regulation.
In the 58th minute, the center referee would issue his first yellow card of the game to Long Island’s Thomas Wharf. After that, the cards just kept coming. Stockade’s Bernardo Mattos would get one in the 63rd and a few minutes later the Rider’s Tyler Botte and Stockade’s Juan Gatti would go into the book.
Realizing that time is running out, Roche would make his second change replacing captain and center back Dan Gwyther with midfielder Colin Murphy in the 68th minute. The change would pay off. Just over ten minutes later, after it felt like most of the game was being played in the Stockade FC goal box, Wharf would knock in the equalizer with 10 minutes plus stoppage time remaining.
Long Island defensive midfielder Shaun Foster, was outstanding in the game, protecting the back line and forcing the Stockade attack to rely on their wing play. Foster would get a yellow for a hard tackle in the 88th minute. And then a minute later, the game would change completely as Bernardo Mattos would get his second yellow after Charlie Ledula forced him into a risky tackle. With just stoppage time remaining the work horse Foster would go down unable to finish the game and give way to Junior Rosero. Rosero’s first touch was a blistering shot from distance that rose too much ending out of play, but it wouldn’t be his last chance at goal.
Regulation ended all square, two a piece and the team would begin their two 15 minute extra time periods. While Long Island poured on the pressure and kept Stockade on their back foot the entire first ET period, the only benefit they could yield from it was a yellow card against Stockade’s Michael Creswick in the 100’.
Lindholm said after the game, “I told my boys, we had 105 minutes of game in our bodies, but unfortunately we had to play for 120.”
Long Island would take over in the second extra time session with Junior Rosero scoring the go-ahead goal just three minutes in making it 3-2. Four minutes later, Charlie Ledula would find himself one on one with Stockade keeper Steve Skonieczny and beat him to the left giving the Rough Riders a 4-2 lead. And two minutes after that, Tyler Botte would put away his second giving the home team a comfortable 5-3 advantage with five minutes to play. Stockade were still pushing forward and earned a PK for their efforts that Matt Koziol would stick into the lower left corner giving Kingston a glimmer of hope for the waning minutes of the game. That hope was extinguished when Charlie Ledula would find himself in a similar position, 1v1 with the keeper and just like last time, easily past him to the left. Rough Riders would win 6-3.
“We’re delighted with the win,” said Roche of the result. “Stockade were what we expected, ferocious, hard working and very difficult to break down. Especially after going two-nil down, I’m very proud of our guys getting back into the game.”
It should be noted, Long Island’s Shaun Foster entered the field of play during the goal celebration of Rosero’s goal. For his action Foster who was already on a yellow was shown a red card. Roche said of Foster, “We’ll be appealing the referee’s action. He ran on the field thinking it was a golden goal and the game was over. He was given a straight red, that’s an incorrect decision, so we’ll definitely be appealing that one.”
Another player that stood out for the Rough Riders was Ledula with his two-goal performance.
“He had a great game, even without the goals,” said Roche. “He’s got a lot of ability and he’s here to showcase himself. Hopefully he’s one of the guys we can push on to the next level. We believe he’s got what it takes to be a professional player.”
Long Island will travel to play Louisville City FC in the Second Round on May 16.