The Swope Park Rangers clinched a fourth-place finish and a home playoff game following a 2-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday night. Amer Didic opened the scoring with his first professional goal in the 11th minute, before Tyler Pasher added a second with 15 minutes remaining. SPR will now host LA Galaxy II at Swope Soccer Village in a Western Conference Quarterfinal on Friday, Sept. 30.
Much like recent games, the Rangers (14-10-6, 48 pts.) began the game in a positive manner against Sounders FC 2 (9-13-8, 35 pts.), with Tyler Pasher and Tommy Meyer each playing dangerous balls into the box that just evaded their teammates in the opening 10 minutes.
The Rangers took the lead in the 11th minute, and it came through an unlikely source in rookie center back Amer Didic. Ayrton swung in a corner from the right and the 21-year-old met the delivery with a downward header that bounced into the back of the net, marking his first professional goal.
Seattle’s Myron Samuel saw a shot saved by Adrian Zendejas in the 16th minute, before Didic was called into defensive action to deny Jordy Delem a clear shot at goal in the 38th minute.
Referee Jon Freemon issued a straight red card to Seattle’s Nouhou Tolo in the 41st minute after the left back brought down Kris Tyrpak just outside the area, denying him a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
The Rangers continued to press forward in the second period, with Ayrton shooting from 25 yards in the 48th minute, but his effort flew over the bar. In the 55th minute, Didic had the chance to make it two goals on the day but he could only direct a volley against the side netting when alone at the back post.
Dane Kelly, who entered the game as a substitute early in the second half, fired just over the bar after shifting the ball away from his marker in the 60th minute. Three minutes later, Carlos Patino dribbled at the SPR defense before firing on goal, but Zendejas was again able to gather comfortably.
The Rangers found their second goal in the 75th minute through Pasher. Kelly showed a combination of strength, determination and speed to get behind the Sounders defense before squaring the ball to Pasher who knocked the ball into the back of the net from close range to make it 2-0.
Substitute Alex Molano saw a free kick attempt flash narrowly over the bar in the 90th minute as the Rangers saw out the 2-0 victory to set up a Western Conference Quarterfinal against LA Galaxy II at Swope Soccer Village on Friday night.
Man of the Match presented by Courtyard Overland Park Metcalf
- Amer Didic – The rookie center back scored the game-winning goal with his first professional tally, while he led the back line to their third shutout in the last four games.
- The Swope Park Rangers will host LA Galaxy II in the USL Cup Playoffs on Friday, Sept. 30 at Swope Soccer Village. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and tickets will go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Monday at 10 a.m. CT, while a live stream will be available on SportingKC.com.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2
September 24, 2016 – Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Mo.)
Swope Park Rangers 2, Seattle Sounders FC 2 0
SPR – Amer Didic 1 (Ayrton 7) 11’
SPR – Tyler Pasher 5 (Dane Kelly 2) 75’
SEA – Nouhou Tolo (Red Card) 41’
SEA – Willy Kapawa (Yellow Card) 53’
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Tommy Meyer (Nansel Selbol 85’), Amer Didic, Oumar Ballo, Ever Alvarado; Ualefi, Christian Duke © (Emmanuel Appiah 66’), Ayrton; Kris Tyrpak (Dane Kelly 55’), Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Alex Molano 72’), Tyler Pasher (Johnny Grant 81’).
Substitutes Not Used: Zac Lubin, Tomas Granitto.
STATS: Shots 9, Shots on Goal 3, Corners 5, Fouls 10
Seattle Sounders FC 2: Charlie Lyon ©; Devon Fisher, Michael Nelson, Tony Alfaro (Jake Morris 60’), Nouhou Tolo; Jordy Delem, Zach Mathers (Mark O’Ojong 61’), Myron Samuel (Willy Kapawa 26’); Shandon Hopeau (Lorenzo Ramos 84’), Milo Barton (Emir Alihodzic 61’), Carlos Patino.
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Bersano.
STATS: Shots 3, Shots on Goal 2, Corners 0, Fouls 9
Referee: Jon Freemon
Assistant Referees: Jack Feldman and Tom Kuczwara
Fourth Official: Kyle Armstrong
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 85 degrees