USL League Two: Long Island Rough Riders close in on third national title

Goals from Matthew Vowinkel and Bjarne Thiesen gave the Long Island Rough Riders a 2-0 win over North Carolina Fusion U23 to earn a spot in the USL League Two final against the Ventura County Fusion.

The match will be held Saturday at Ventura College in Ventura, California.

The Rough Riders will be seeking their third national title. They won the 1995 USISL Pro League (with Tony Meola, Giovanni Savarese, Jim Rooney and Chris Armas) and 2002 USL D3-Pro League. In 2007, they moved to the amateur PDL. Their previous best finish in the PDL was the national semifinals in 2011.

Both Long Island goals against the Fusion U23 came on headers off crosses from 25-year-old German Niklas Roessler (Cal State Bakersfield).

Vowinkel, a 2021 FC Cincinnati SuperDraft pick out of Hofstra, scored on a diving header in the 44th minute. The 6-foot-5 Thiesen, a 2021 third-team All-American for West Virginia, rose high to score in the 52nd minute.

The semifinal match was rescheduled from Sunday because of multiple lightning delays in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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