The Rangers (2-0-0) defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2 (1-1-0) 4-2 in their home opener at Shawnee Mission South District Stadium on Saturday night. Kharlton Belmar recorded his second straight two-goal game and, in doing so, became the Rangers all-time scoring leader with 19 goals.
Seattle was the first to get on the board with a goal from their captain David Estrada in the 19th minute. Rangers goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod came off his line to intervene and Amer Didic made a great defensive effort, but it wasn’t enough to stop S2 from taking the lead.
In the 21st minute, Belmar scored a brilliant left-footed goal that skimmed by a defender and the Seattle goalie, Calle Brown, to even the score 1-1. Hadji Barry picked up the assist, his USL-best third of the year.
In the 28th minute, Sporting KC Academy product Felipe Hernandez delivered a beautifully-placed cross in front of the goal. Didic won the header, but it sailed just high of the crossbar.
Hernandez next found SPR captain Rodrigo Saravia with a corner kick in the 35th minute and Saravia directed his header into the top right corner of the goal to bring the Rangers ahead 2-1.
The Rangers didn’t let up in the second half and increased their lead to 3-1 in the 52nd minute. Colton Storm fought through two defenders to beat Brown with a left-footed shot and Saravia picked up the assist.
The Sounders quickly answered back in the 56th minute to cut the Rangers lead to 3-2. Estrada picked up his second goal on the evening with a pass from 18-year-old Handwalla Bwana.
In the 61st minute, Belmar capped the scoring with his second goal of the night on a beautiful finish from the left side of the box. Belmar now has four goals in the Rangers' first two games of 2018 and leads all USL players in scoring.
MacLeod made a superb diving save in the 73rd minute to keep the score at 4-2. The Rangers end the night picking up three points amidst professional debuts for Sporting KC Academy product Camilo Benitez and Sporting KC Academy player Sebastian Cruz, who came off the bench in the game's late stages.
SPR next travels to play at USL expansion team Las Vegas Lights FC on March 31 at 10:00 p.m. CT at Cashman Field in Las Vegas Nevada.
Swope Park Rangers vs Seattle Sounders FC 2
March 24, 2018 – Shawnee Mission South District Stadium
Swope Park Rangers 4, Seattle Sounders FC 2
SEA – David Estrada 1 (unassisted) – 19’
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 3 (Hadji Barry 3) – 21’
SPR – Rodrigo Saravia 1 (Felipe Hernandez 1) – 35’
SPR – Colton Storm 1 (Rodrigo Saravia 1) - 52’
SEA – David Estrada 2 (Handwalla Bwana 1) – 56’
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 4 (Colton Storm 1) – 61’
SPR – Wan Kuzain (Yellow Card) 17’
SEA – Handwalla Bwana (Yellow Card) 33’
SPR – Camilo Benitez (Yellow Card) 64’
SEA – Alex Roldan (Yellow Card) 74’
Swope Park Rangers:
Darrin MacLeod; Bryam Rebellon; Graham Smith; Amer Didic; Colton Storm; Wan Kuzain; Felipe Hernandez (Chase Minter 77’); Rodrigo Saravia ©; Kharlton Belmar (Sebastian Cruz 90 +2’); Hadji Barry; Camilo Benitez (Will Little 67’)