The Swope Park Rangers (4-4-0, 7th place) suffered the club’s first home loss of the season on Friday as San Antonio FC (9-0-2, 1st place) prevailed 1-0 at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Swope Soccer Village.
San Antonio FC, the only unbeaten team in the top leagues of American soccer, matched the USL’s single-season record with a fifth consecutive road victory courtesy of a 53rd-minute goal from 20-year-old Mark O’Ojong and Diego Restrepo’s league-leading fifth consecutive clean sheet. The Rangers controlled 77 percent of the possession, the most by a team in a USL match this season, however SPR saw the team’s nine-game home winning streak come to an end.
The Rangers threatened to snap San Antonio’s now 465-minute shutout streak with a pair of chances in the opening 20 minutes. Nineteen-year-old Academy product Nansel Selbol saw his shot tipped over the bar in the 15th minute and was on the cusp of a tap in two minutes later if not for Diego Restrepo doing well to anticipate the square pass from Kevin Oliveira inside the penalty area.
The visitors, who have scored the second most goals of any team in the USL this season, turned to their talisman Billy Forbes to provide the club's attacking spark in the game's early stages. The reigning USL Player of the Month first struck the near post in the 18th minute after breaking free on the left flank, then tested Adrian Zendejas with a free kick from distance in the 25th minute.
The Swope Park Rangers goalkeeper, on loan from Sporting Kansas City, was called into action again just two minutes later, this time racing off his line to beat Akwafei Ajeakwa to a through ball from Kris Tyrpak. On the opposite end, Kharlton Belmar was in pursuit of his fifth goal of the season in the 38th minute. The Rangers' leading scorer capped off a well-worked build-up with a shot on frame that forced a diving save from Restrepo.
The match, deadlocked at halftime, would turn in the 53rd minute as San Antonio FC capitalized on a counter attack that began with an outlet to Kris Tyrpak on the right wing. The former Swope Park Rangers midfielder lofted a cross to the backpost, finding O’Ojong in full stride as the Cameroonian international placed a powerful header into the back of the net for the game’s only goal.
Tyrpak sent a shot of his own wide of the target in the 55th minute and from that point forward, the attacking actions would solely take place in front of Restrepo’s net as the Rangers searched for an equalizer. Oliveira struck a free kick over the bar in the 57th minute and Selbol took a turn striking a set piece in the 59th minute that was placed on frame, but easily held by Restrepo.
After securing a 2-1 victory in the previous meeting with San Antonio FC on a 94th-minute game-winner last year, the Rangers were again looking for a bit of late-game magic on Friday. Oliveira came close in the 81st minute, settling the ball of his chest and firing a volley over the bar. Finally, seven minutes into stoppage time, Oliveira’s free kick found Cameron Iwasa at the near post however Restrepo was quick to smother the shot at the near post.
- The Swope Park Rangers will travel to Texas for a rematch with San Antonio FC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, June 4 at Toyota Field. The match will be streamed live on SportingKC.com and in-game updates will be available through the team’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat channels.
Swope Park Rangers vs. San Antonio FC
May 26, 2017 – Children’s Mercy Victory Field (Kansas City, Mo.)
San Antonio FC 1, Swope Park Rangers 0
SA – Mark O’Ojong 1 (Kris Tyrpak 2) 53
SPR – James Musa (caution; reckless foul) 24
SA – Billy Forbes (caution; dissent) 61
SA – Mark O’Ojong (caution; reckless foul) 79
SA – Kris Tyrpak (caution; dissent) 93+
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Parker Maher, Liam Doyle, Amer Didic, Colton Storm; James Musa, Christian Duke ©, Kevin Oliveira; Kharlton Belmar, Lebo Moloto (Cameron Iwasa 59), Nansel Selbol
Substitutes Not Used: Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, David Greczek, Felipe Hernandez, Tyler Pasher, Dakota Barnathan, Robert Mirosavic
STATS: Shots 11, Shots on Goal 3, Corners 7, Fouls 11, Possession 77%
San Antonio FC: Diego Restrepo; Ben Newnam, Sebastien Ibeagha, Stephen McCarthy, Greg Cochrane; Pecka (Rafa Castillo 91+) Michael Reed ©, Mark O’Ojong, Kris Tyrpak, Billy Forbes, Akwafei Ajeakwa (Shawn Chin 63)
Substitutes Not Used: Lee Johnston, Cyprian Hedrick, Aly Alberto Hassan, Devin Vega, Maxi Rodriguez
STATS: Shots 4, Shots on Goal 2, Corners 0, Fouls 11, Possession 23%
Referee: Jose Lara
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Kieso and Matthew Seem
Fourth Official: Bryan Auten
Weather: Sunny and 83 degrees