The Swope Park Rangers concluded their Desert Diamond Cup play on a high note with a 1-0 win over hosts FC Tucson to ensure that the club returns to Kansas City with an unbeaten 2-0-2 record in preseason.
The Rangers took the ascendancy from the start, with Dane Kelly and Kris Tyrpak each firing wide when well placed. SPR kept pushing numbers forward, with Nansel Selbol and Tyrpak each taking firing on goal in the same play inside the area, but neither could force the ball home.
In the 25th minute, Selbol dispossessed the deepest FC Tucson player, rounded the goalkeeper but his finish into an empty net was blocked in the final moment by a recovering defender. Six minutes later, Medranda dribbled around his man and fired from the left side of the area but his strike flew inches over the bar.
The Rangers weren’t to be denied any longer, however, as Kelly finally found the breakthrough in the 32nd minute. Selbol brought the ball forward from midfield, committed a FC Tucson defender and dinked a pass to Kelly inside the area, who volleyed into the back of the net to make the score 1-0.
The second half followed a similar pattern with the Rangers threatening several times, and halftime substitute Tomas Granitto came closest to adding a second goal with a strike from distance that thundered off the post and out.
Defender Tommy Meyer entered the game in the 68th minute for his first appearance in preseason with the Rangers, and he nearly found the net late on, but his point blank effort from a Tyler Pasher corner was saved.
Norberto Ochoa and Mark Anthony Gonzalez each went close before the end of the game as SPR settled for a 1-0 victory to end their preseason camp in Tucson.
Swope Park Rangers vs. FC Tucson
February 27, 2016 – Kino Sports Complex North Grandstand (Tucson, Ariz.)
Swope Park Rangers 1, FC Tucson 0
SPR – Dane Kelly (Nansel Selbol) 32’
FCT – Eddie Guerra (Yellow Card) 73’
Swope Park Rangers: Zac Lubin; Jimmy Mulligan (Johnny Grant 62’), Oumar Ballo (Hakim Diaw 31’ (Tommy Meyer 68’)), Amer Didic, Jacob VanCompernolle (Ezra Armstrong 68’); Mouhamed Dabo (Mark Anthony Gonzalez 73’), Alex Molano (Ualefi 59’), Nansel Selbol (Faik Hajderovic 60’); Kris Tyrpak (Tyler Pasher 68’), Dane Kelly (Alberto Sanchez 54’ (Norberto Ochoa 76’)), Jimmy Medranda (Tomas Granitto 46’).
FC Tucson: Markus Dickerson; Sean Kieth, Yuri Kulikov, Nick Edgington, Conner Bevans; Edgar Reyna, Carlos Lara; Billy O’Dwyer, Enrique Aguirre, Ryan Morris; Minh Vu.
Referees: Noah Kenyawani, Keaton Jarvis and Robi Hullner
Weather: Clear and 85 degrees