The Swope Park Rangers earned a second straight win to start the 2017 USL season with a 1-0 victory over Portland Timbers 2 on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Swope Soccer Village. Kharlton Belmar was once again on the scoresheet, this time striking against his former side, to lift SPR to a seventh straight home win dating back to last season – a streak now tied for third longest in USL history.
After scoring three goals in the season opener on Saturday, the Rangers wasted little time in once again asserting the team’s attack with three chances to take the lead in the game’s first 10 minutes only to be turned away by stellar saves from on-loan goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh. Belmar was first to threaten in the sixth minute, controlling the ball around his defender and forcing a save low to the keeper’s left.
McIntosh was again called into action two minutes later, this time racing off his line to deny Nansel Selbol in a one-on-one situation. Moments later, the 19-year-old combined with fellow Sporting KC Academy product Christian Duke on a give-and-go that set up the club captain for a left-footed shot which McIntosh sprawled to stop. The rebound fell to Felipe Hernandez, however his first-time attempt carried over the crossbar.
On the opposite end, SPR goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas – starting on loan from Sporting KC – kept the match scoreless in the 14th minute with a strong save of his own to keep out a well-struck effort from Augustine Williams. The action proved pivotal as the Rangers opened the scoring a minute later.
Selbol played the part of provider, picking up a pass from Lebo Moloto on the right side of the penalty area and then sending a cross for Belmar to run onto at the top of the six-yard box. The former Portland Timbers 2 striker made no mistake, burying a shot off the underside of the crossbar for his second goal of the season, tied for the league lead, and 17th career USL goal.
The duo remained active in the attack and Selbol twice came close to doubling the Rangers’ advantage before the halftime whistle. In the 38th minute, Belmar intercepted a pass on the left sideline and fed Selbol behind the T2 backline before the 19-year-old’s shot was palmed away. McIntosh’s fifth and final save of the half came on the cusp of intermission, again closing down the space and making himself big to thwart Selbol.
The visiting Timbers 2 held the upper hand for the early stages of the second half, though neither side recorded a shot on goal until the 68th minute when Hernandez cleared Rennico Clarke’s header off the line following a corner kick from former SPR midfielder Tomas Granitto. The Rangers responded two minutes later as Hernandez wrong-footed his defender and placed a shot on target which was saved by McIntosh.
Ultimately, those would prove to be the only two attempts on target in the second half as Zendejas earned his sixth career USL shutout and improved to 10-1-0 in USL competition with a 0.79 goals against average overall (0.43 GAA at home).
- The Swope Park Rangers will wrap up a three-game homestand to open the 2017 season at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 15 at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Swope Soccer Village against Sacramento Republic FC. Tickets are available to purchase online at SeatGeek.com and at the venue’s box office on gameday.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Portland Timbers 2
March 29, 2017 – Children’s Mercy Victory Field (Kansas City, Mo.)
Swope Park Rangers 1, Portland Timbers 2 0
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 2 (Nansel Selbol 1) 15
POR – Shaquille Jimenez (caution; reckless foul) 22
SPR – Lebo Moloto (caution; reckless foul) 29
SPR – Kharlton Belmar (caution; delaying a restart) 54
SPR – Nansel Selbol (caution; reckless foul) 58
POR – Rennico Clarke (caution; delaying a restart) 73
SPR – Adrian Zendejas (caution; delaying a restart) 93+
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Colton Storm, Erik Palmer-Brown (Dakota Barnathan 46), James Musa, Tyler Pasher (Parker Maher 65); Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, Christian Duke ©, Felipe Hernandez; Lebo Moloto (Max Rugova 61), Kharlton Belmar, Nansel Selbol
Substitutes Not Used: David Greczek, Oumar Ballo, Will Little, Liam Doyle
STATS: Shots 14, Shots on Goal 7, Corners 8, Fouls 13, Possession 53%
Portland Timbers 2: Kendall McIntosh; Rennico Clarke ©, Lamar Batista, Kyle Bjornethun, Shaquille Jimenez; Tomas Granitto (Dylan Damraoui 83), Andre Lewis, Neco Brett (Russell Cicerone 85), Villyan Bijev, Blake Bodily (Omar Mohamed 76); Augustine Williams
Substitutes Not Used: Michael Amick, Harold Hanson, Wade Hamilton, Max Ornstil
STATS: Shots 15, Shots on Goal 3, Corners 8, Fouls 15, Possession 47%
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Shane Kennard and Devin Blazek
Fourth Official: Spenser Scopel
Video Assistant Referee: Jon Freemon
Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Alan Brown
Weather: Mostly cloudy and 59 degrees