Playoff Preview: Swope Park Rangers host LA Galaxy II

Gonzalez vs. LA

The Swope Park Rangers begin play in the USL Cup Playoffs when they host LA Galaxy II in a Western Conference Quarterfinal at Swope Soccer Village on Friday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT, while tickets are available via Ticketmaster and the game will be live streamed on SportingKC.com.

The Rangers begin their quest for the USL Cup after closing out their regular season with a 14-10-6 (48 pts.) record and finishing fourth in the Western Conference. The side won six of their last seven games, including four in a row to conclude the season, and clinched a home playoff game with last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC 2.

In that regular-season finale, the Rangers took the lead when rookie defender Amer Didic headed in Ayrton’s corner kick for his first professional goal in the 11th minute. With 15 minutes remaining, Tyler Pasher knocked home Dane Kelly’s low cross to double the Rangers’ lead and seal a fourth-place finish.

Galaxy II enters the postseason as the fifth seed in the West, going 12-7-11 (47 pts.) in the regular season. The visitors went unbeaten in their final four games of the season (2-0-2), but posted only three victories in their final 11 games, dating back to July 30. In comparison, the Rangers won seven of their last 11 games, stretching back to the same date.

LA closed out their regular-season campaign with a 3-1 victory over Real Monarchs last Saturday. Adonis Amaya put Galaxy II ahead in the 18th minute before Boyd Okwuonu hit back for the Monarchs 11 minutes later. A second-half strike from Raul Mendiola and a second goal on the day for Amaya sealed all three points and a fifth-place finish for LA.

The Rangers triumphed over Galaxy II in the only meeting between the two sides this season, earning a 2-1 victory at Swope Soccer Village on Aug. 27. Bradford Jamieson IV put the visitors ahead in the opening minutes but SPR responded with goals from Christian Duke and Mark Anthony Gonzalez before the interval to claim the 2-1 victory.

LA have advanced to the postseason in each of the previous two seasons and were USL finalists last season, advancing to the USL Championship as Western Conference Champions and falling 2-1 to the Rochester Rhinos after extra time.

USL Cup Playoffs: Western Conference Quarterfinal
Date: Friday, September 30, 2016
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Mo.)

Swope Park Rangers: 14-10-6, 48 pts. 4th seed.

LA Galaxy II: 12-7-11, 47 pts. 5th seed.

Live Stream: The game will be broadcast on SportingKC.com and YouTube.com/USL
Talent: Carter Augustine (play-by-play), Nate Bukaty (analyst)

Game-specific hashtag: #SPRvLA

Swope Park Rangers
Twitter: @SwopeRangers
Instagram: @swopeparkrangers

LA Galaxy II
Twitter: @LAGalaxyII
Instagram: @lagalaxyii