The Swope Park Rangers (14-7-6, 4th place) recorded their most impressive win of the season on Sunday with an emphatic 5-2 victory over a San Antonio FC (14-3-10, 2nd place) side that had only two previous losses this year and boasts the USL’s best defense.
Three Sporting KC Academy products found the back of the net including a brace from 20-year-old striker Nansel Selbol, a first professional goal for 17-year-old Max Rugova and a long-range free kick scored by 19-year-old Felipe Hernandez. In addition, Kharlton Belmar moved up to sixth on the USL scoring chart with his 11th goal of the campaign just two days after signing with Sporting Kansas City.
Selbol opened the scoring in the sixth minute on Sunday from the penalty spot after club captain Christian Duke, a fellow Sporting KC Academy alum, was brought down inside the area by former Sporting KC defender Cyprian Hedrick.
San Antonio FC wasted little time responding in search of the equalizer and came close in the 17th minute, first being denied on a goalline block by Oumar Ballo and then striking the post on a shot from Billy Forbes. The 26-year-old would do his part to set up the game-tying goal soon enough those as he found Omar Gordon unmarked at the back post in the 20th minute and Gordon took care of the rest from close range for his first goal for San Antonio FC.
Deadlocked at 1-1, the first half was poised to end in a stalemate until Selbol drew a free kick from 30 yards out and Hernandez buried the ensuing set piece with only seconds remaining in stoppage time. The goal, Hernandez’s second from a free kick this season, gave the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish with three unanswered goals to break the game open in the second half against a visiting team that had not allowed more than two goals in any game this season.
Tyler Pasher, who had nearly scored himself in the 42nd minute in a one-on-one situation, cut the ball back in the 62nd minute to an onrushing Selbol for a first-time finish that would come on his final touch of the game as he exited to a standing ovation at Children’s Mercy Victory Field.
Just three minutes later, the Rangers would add to their advantage with Belmar the first to reach a mishit clearance attempt by Hedrick before sending his shot past San Antonio FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo to give him goals in back-to-back games for SPR.
On a night already highlighted by the contributions from former Sporting KC Academy members, Rugova came off the bench in the 77th minute and scored three minutes later on a cross from Mark Anthony Gonzalez to become the fourth youngest goal scorer in USL this season.
Youngest USL Goal Scorers in 2017
Jonah Estrada (LA Galaxy II): 16 years, 6 months, 21 days
Ben Mines (New York Red Bulls II): 17 years, 7 days
Gio Calixtro (Portland Timbers FC 2): 17 years, 26 days
Max Rugova (Swope Park Rangers): 17 years, 7 months
San Antonio FC would pull a consolation goal back in the 85th minute as Forbes collected his team-leading eighth goal of the year on a thunderous left-footed strike to beat Adrian Zendejas, though it proved to be too little and too late for the visitors in the finale of a four-game road trip.
With the win, the Swope Park Rangers now sit within one point of third-place Reno 1868 FC and three points shy of second-place San Antonio FC with five games remaining in the regular season.
- The Swope Park Rangers will return to the road to take on Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 23. The match will be streamed live on SportingKC.com and in-game updates will be available from the team’s social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Swope Park Rangers vs. San Antonio FC
September 17, 2017 – Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Mo.)
Swope Park Rangers 5-2 San Antonio FC
SPR – Nansel Selbol 6 (penalty kick) 11
SA – Omar Gordon 1 (Billy Forbes 6) 20’
SPR – Felipe Hernandez 2 (unassisted) 46+
SPR – Nansel Selbol 7 (Tyler Pasher 3) 62’
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 11 (unassisted) 65’
SPR – Max Rugova 1 (Mark Anthony Gonzalez 2) 80’
SA – Billy Forbes 8 (Connor Presley 1) 85’
SA – Ben Newnam (caution; reckless foul) 13’
SA – Pecka (caution; reckless foul) 45’
SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez (caution; reckless foul) 72’
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Colton Storm, Amer Didic, Oumar Ballo, Tyler Pasher; James Musa, Christian Duke ©, Felipe Hernandez (Kevin Oliveira 58); Kharlton Belmar (Max Rugova 77), Lebo Moloto, Nansel Selbol (Mark Anthony Gonzalez 63)
Substitutes Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Dakota Barnathan, Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, Liam Doyle
San Antonio FC: Diego Restrepo; Cyprian Hedrick, Ben Newnam, Greg Cochrane, Sebastian Ibeagha; Pecka (Ryan Roushandel 69), Omar Gordon, Billy Forbes, Michael Reed ©; Ever Guzman (Connor Presley 81), Mike Seth (Cesar Elizondo 63)
Substitutes Not Used: Maxi Rodriguez, Kris Tyrpak, Nkongho O’Ojong, Lee Johnston
Referee: Farhad Dakho
Assistant Referees: Shane Kennard and Luis Tribaldo
Fourth Official: Devin Blazek
Weather: Partly cloudy and 73 degrees