The Swope Park Rangers fell to their first defeat in their final preseason game on Saturday night, suffering a 2-1 loss to Creighton University at Swope Soccer Village. Following the culmination of their preseason, SPR will kickoff their inaugural USL campaign on Saturday, March 26 when they take on Portland Timbers 2 at Children’s Mercy Park.
The Rangers started brightly and almost went ahead in the fourth minute when Amer Didic got his head on a cross but the Creighton goalkeeper was able to claw his header off the goal line.
Three minutes later, SPR took the lead. Neat build-up play between Kris Tyrpak, Tomas Granitto and Kevin Oliveira led to the latter slipping a pass to Mark Anthony Gonzalez just inside the area, and he spun his man before rifling in off the post.
The advantage would last just 13 minutes, with a Sporting KC Academy product equalizing for Creighton. A deep free kick from the right was swung toward the back post where Eric DeJulio lost his marker and headed into the bottom corner to tie the game at 1-1.
Creighton went ahead in the 37th minute following a defensive lapse from the Rangers. Creighton forward Myles Englis was able to intercept a square pass at the back and advanced on goal before slotting high past Jon Kempin to make the score 2-1.
The Rangers came out flying at the start of the second half, with Tyrpak twice going close, Alex Molano almost scoring directly from a corner kick and Gonzalez seeing a low effort saved all before the 52nd minute.
Creighton continued to defend resolutely as SPR pushed for an equalizing goal, with defensive blocks denying Ezra Armstrong, Nansel Selbol and Felipe Hernandez late in the second half. The final chance would fall to Oumar Ballo who was stationed as a forward for the final moments, but he couldn’t get the finishing touch on a teasing cross from Johnny Grant as the Rangers concluded preseason with a 3-1-2 record.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Creighton University
March 19, 2016 – Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Mo.)
Swope Park Rangers 1, Creighton University 2
SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Kevin Oliveira) 7’
CU – Eric DeJulio 20’
CU – Myles Englis 37’
CU – Joel Rydstrand (Yellow Card) 57’
Swope Park Rangers: Jon Kempin; Jimmy Mulligan (Johnny Grant 71’), Tommy Meyer, Amer Didic (Oumar Ballo 71’), Jacob VanCompernolle; Ualefi, Tomas Granitto (Will Little 63’), Kevin Oliveira (Alex Molano 46’); Kris Tyrpak (Ezra Armstrong 71’), Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Felipe Hernandez 72’), Nansel Selbol.
Referee: Kevin Diemer
Assistant Referees: Alex Hamel and Bryan Auten
Weather: Cloudy and 37 degrees