The Swope Park Rangers cruised to a 3-0 victory over Orange County Blues FC on Saturday night at Swope Soccer Village to jump into the eighth and final playoff position in the USL Western Conference. Dane Kelly put the Rangers ahead just before halftime before two goals in three minutes in the second half from Mark Anthony Gonzalez and Johnny Grant sealed the three points.
The Rangers (7-8-4, 25 pts.) and the Blues (6-9-4, 22 pts.) traded chances in the opening period, with Kelly forcing an early save from Brandon Miller before Orange County leading scorer Didier Crettenand twice fired off target when well placed.
Kelly threatened again in the 16th minute when he received a pass from Ualefi, cut the ball back to his left foot and curled an effort narrowly over the bar. Six minutes later, Jon Kempin was called into action for the first time as Trevin Caesar meandered past the SPR defense and Kempin blocked his attempted finish. The 23-year-old goalkeeper had to be sharp again in the 35th minute when Andrae Campbell sped past Tommy Meyer and Kempin saved at his near post.
The Rangers found the breakthrough in the 43rd minute when a neat pass from Alex Molano found Kelly sprinting behind the Blues defense, and the Jamaican kept his cool to slot his finish between Miller’s legs and into the net to make the score 1-0.
Kris Tyrpak almost added a second before halftime, but Miller was on hand to save his low effort after racing through one-on-one.
Orange County began the second half with a purpose and went close in the 52nd minute. A cross from the right found Caesar on the top of the area, and the forward hit a powerful low shot that flashed just wide of the post.
After that, the Rangers took control of the game. Oumar Ballo, Kelly and Molano all went close in a matter of minutes, before Ayrton came off the bench to force Miller into another save.
The Rangers finally added their second goal in the 78th minute. Ayrton whipped in a free kick from the right that was nodded home by Mark Anthony Gonzalez, who notched his team-leading sixth goal of the season to make the score 2-0.
Ayrton was at it again three minutes later, dribbling through several defenders on the left side of the area before cutting the ball back to fellow substitute Johnny Grant, who calmly placed the ball into the net to make the final score 3-0.
Man of the Match presented by Courtyard Overland Park Metcalf
- Dane Kelly – Scored the game-winner with a clinical 43rd-minute strike. The goal was his second of the season and his 44th career USL goal – extending his lead as the all-time USL leading scorer.
- The Swope Park Rangers remain at home next weekend when they host San Antonio FC at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday, July 30. The Rangers will be celebrating Swope Park Appreciation Night at that game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and a live stream will be available on SportingKC.com, while tickets are available here.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Orange County Blues FC
July 23, 2016 – Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Mo.)
Swope Park Rangers 3, Orange County Blues FC 0
SPR – Dane Kelly 2 (Alex Molano 1) 43’
SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez 6 (Ayrton 1) 78’
SPR – Johnny Grant 1 (Ayrton 2) 81’
SPR – Ever Alvarado (Yellow Card) 28’
OC – Roy Meeus (Yellow Card) 49’
OC – Ivan Mirkovic (Yellow Card) 90+
OC – Matthew Sheldon (Yellow Card) 90+
Swope Park Rangers: Jon Kempin; Tommy Meyer, Oumar Ballo, Amer Didic, Ever Alvarado; Ualefi, Christian Duke © (Tomas Granitto 85’), Alex Molano (Ayrton 72’); Kris Tyrpak (Johnny Grant 75’), Dane Kelly (Nansel Selbol 69’), Tyler Pasher (Mark Anthony Gonzalez 37’).
Substitutes Not Used: Zac Lubin.
STATS: Shots 16, Shots on Goal 11, Corners 5, Fouls 13
Orange County Blues FC: Brandon Miller; Matthew Sheldon, Ryan Felix (Nikola Ilich 80’), Brenton Griffiths, Andrae Campbell (Roy Meeus 46’); Ivan Mirkovic ©, Verneri Valimaa (Dusan Stevanovic 75’), Didier Crettenand, Mats Bjurman (Gevorg Karapetyan 46’); Chino Santana (Akwafei Ajeakwa 46’), Trevin Caesar.
Substitutes Not Used: Joshua Cohen, Maurice Pluntke.
STATS: Shots 7, Shots on Goal 2, Corners 6, Fouls 15
Referee: Jon Freemon
Assistant Referees: John Krill and Devin Blazek
Fourth Official: Ricardo Gutierrez
Weather: Cloudy and 93 degrees