The Swope Park Rangers played to a 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday night, with Mark Anthony Gonzalez scoring in the final minute of play to help the Rangers maintain an unbeaten start to their Desert Diamond Cup play. The club will next face FC Tucson on Saturday to close out the tournament.
PHOTO GALLERY: #SPRvCLB
It was Columbus who created the first opportunity, with Harrison Afful getting behind the Rangers defense and clipping a shot that Jon Kempin was able to deflect onto the crossbar and back into his arms. SPR responded well and Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark was called into action to save from Kris Tyrpak, Tyler Pasher and Tomas Granitto before the half hour mark.
In the 35th minute, Columbus found the breakthrough with Cedrick Mabwati taking a shot from the edge of the area that Kempin was able to save, but only into the path of Federico Higuain who tapped home from two yards out.
The lead would only last for three minutes as the Rangers ensured they went into the halftime break level. After Tyrpak challenged for a cross from the left, the loose ball fell to Granitto in front of goal and the midfielder finished past Clark into the corner to make the score 1-1.
For the first time in preseason, the Rangers kept the same lineup heading into the second half, while Columbus made 11 changes at the break. The two sides traded chances early in the second half with Jacob VanCompernolle heading wide from a free kick delivery, and Ola Kamara also heading off target following a set piece.
Crew SC retook the lead in the 66th minute when Ola Kamara fed Ethan Finlay in the area, and he cut inside his man and fired into the bottom corner to make the score 2-1. Emil Larsen had the opportunity to put Columbus even further ahead in the 77th minute, but could only blast the ball over with only Kempin to beat.
That miss would prove costly as in the final minute of regulation time, the Swope Park Rangers pulled themselves level. Alex Molano swung in a corner kick from the left and Ezra Armstrong met the ball at the back post and headed it across goal for Gonzalez to chest in from close range and make the final score 2-2.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Columbus Crew SC
February 24, 2016 – Kino Sports Complex North Grandstand (Tucson, Ariz.)
Swope Park Rangers 2, Columbus Crew SC 2
CLB – Federico Higuain (Unassisted) 35’
SPR – Tomas Granitto (Kris Tyrpak) 38’
CLB – Ethan Finlay (Ola Kamara) 66’
SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Ezra Armstrong, Alex Molano) 90’
CLB – Chad Barson (Yellow Card) 57’
CLB – Tyson Wahl (Yellow Card) 72’
Swope Park Rangers: Jon Kempin; Jimmy Mulligan (Will Little 73’), Amer Didic (Hakim Diaw 75’), Jacob VanCompernolle (Oumar Ballo 75’), Christian Duke (Ezra Armstrong 73’); Ualefi (Mouhamed Dabo 67’), Tomas Granitto (Alex Molano 67’), Jimmy Medranda (Mark Anthony Gonzalez 79’); Kris Tyrpak (Johnny Grant 62’), Dane Kelly (Norberto Ochoa 67’), Tyler Pasher (Nansel Selbol 59’).
Columbus Crew SC:
First Half: Steve Clark; Harrison Afful, Michael Parkhurst, Gaston Sauro, Waylon Francis; Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani; Cedrick Mabwati, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram; Kei Kamara.
Second Half: Brad Stuver; Chad Barson, Tyson Wahl, Amro Tarek, Marshall Hollingsworth; Rodrigo Saravia, Mohammed Saied; Ethan Finlay, Emil Larsen, Hector Jimenez; Ola Kamara (Conor Casey 68’).
Referee: Drew Fisher
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard and Jeffrey Greeson
Fourth Official: Robi Hullner
Weather: Clear and 73 degrees