Recap: Rangers claim dramatic 3-2 victory over reigning USL Cup champions Louisville City FC after weather delay

The Swope Park Rangers claimed their first victory of the 2019 USL Championship season with a dramatic 3-2 victory over reigning back-to-back USL Cup champions Louisville City FC in a weather-delayed affair at Children’s Mercy Park. The win sees SPR improve to 1-4-2 on the season as the side remains in 17th place in the Eastern Conference.  

Following a frantic opening where both sides came flying out of the gates but neither created any clear-cut chances, the game entered a weather delay in the 14th minute due to lightning in the area.

An hour-and-two-minute delay ensued before the two teams resumed at 8:22 p.m. CT. The first real chance of the match fell Louisville’s way, as the visitors won a free kick 20 yards out, but Oscar Jimenez’s low effort was well parried away by 18-year-old goalkeeper John Pulskamp, who was making his Rangers debut.

Pulskamp produced an excellent stop once again in the 25th minute when Abdou Thiam was played clean through with the Rangers’ goalkeeper, but Pulskamp came off his line well to smother the one-on-one attempt.

Three minutes later, it was the Rangers’ turn to threaten as Felipe Hernandez found a pocket of space 25 yards out and unleashed a piledriver that cannoned off the crossbar and came out.

Hernandez was not to be denied, however, as in the 30th minute he picked off a poor pass out of the back from Louisville goalkeeper Brian Holt before confidently lashing a low finish into the bottom corner to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

It got better for the Rangers in the 34th minute as Mark Segbers surged forward from the back and slid through a perfect ball into the path of Rassambek Akhmatov, who clipped a cheeky finish over the onrushing Holt to double the advantage.

Louisville almost pulled themselves back into the game minutes before the halftime interval as Sean Totsch met a corner at the near post but could only direct his close-range header well over the bar.

However, it took just four minutes into the second half for Louisville to pull a goal back as Magnus Rasmussen curled home a stunning free kick into the top corner from the top of the box to cut the deficit to 2-1.

It took another spectacular piece of goalkeeping from Pulskamp to keep the score level in the 54th minute as he somehow reached over to deny Thiam an open goal after the forward had been played in on the doorstep by substitute Luke Spencer.

Louisville dragged themselves level in the 59th minute when Pulskamp made a terrific initial save to deny Spencer who was open in front of goal, only for the striker to slam the rebound into the back of the net, making the score 2-2.

Spencer had an ample chance to be the hero and claim the points for Louisville when he got in behind in the 84th minute, but he dragged his shot wide of the target.

In the end it was the Rangers that stole all three points in dramatic fashion. Louisville’s Niall McCabe was shown a straight red card for a nasty foul on Alexsander near the halfway line, and the Brazilian picked himself up to loft a perfect ball into the area that found Sporting KC loanee Abdul Rwatubyaye, who looped a header over Holt and into the back of the net in the 90th minute to see the Rangers claim a stunning 3-2 victory over the reigning USL Cup Champions.

The Rangers hit the road next week to take on Nashville SC at First Tennessee Park on Saturday, May 11 with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live via ESPN+.

2019 USL Championship
Game 7 of 34

Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Attendance: 214
Weather: 74 degrees and partly cloudy

<p>Swope Park Rangers (1-4-2, 5 points)</p>
<p>Louisville City FC (4-4-1, 13 points)</p>

Swope Park Rangers: John Pulskamp; Mark Segbers, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Mo Abualnadi, Alexsander; Camden Riley (C), Felipe Hernandez, Rassambek Akhmatov; Will Little (Sean Karani 67’), Ethan Vanacore-Decker (Wilson Harris 78’), Jerome Ngom Mbekeli (Killian Colombie 85’)
Subs Not Used: Max Trejo, Jake Davis, Tucker Lepley

Louisville City FC: Brian Holt; Oscar Jimenez, Taylor Peay (Luke Spencer 46’), Paco Craig, Shaun Francis (C); Sean Totsch, Magnus Rasmussen, Devon Williams; Lucky Mkosana, Abdou Thiam (George Davis IV 74’), Niall McCabe
Subs Not Used: Pat McMahon, Alexis Souahy, Sunny Jane, Napo Matsoso

Scoring Summary:
SPR – Felipe Hernandez 2 (Unassisted) 30’
SPR – Rassambek Akhmatov 1 (Mark Segbers 1) 34’
LOU – Magnus Rasmussen 3 (Unassisted) 49’
LOU – Luke Spencer 2 (Unassisted) 58’
SPR – Abdul Rwatubyaye 1 (Alexsander 2) 90’

Misconduct Summary:
SPR – Rassambek Akhmatov (Yellow Card; Persistent Infringement) 47+
LOU – Niall McCabe (Red Card; Violent Conduct) 88’

<p>Shots on Goal</p>
<p>Corner Kicks</p>

Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Assistant Referee: Truman Berghall
Assistant Referee: Matthew Seem
Fourth Official: Matt Gaudreau