Mark Anthony Gonzalez scored twice in second-half stoppage time on Sunday as the Swope Park Rangers (5-4-1, 7th place) rallied for a 3-1 victory over regional rivals Tulsa Roughnecks FC (5-6-0, 8th place) at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Swope Soccer Village. Cameron Iwasa, on loan from Sporting Kansas City, also came off the bench to open the scoring with a stunning, long-range strike en route to the Rangers improving to 5-0-0 in the all-time series with Tulsa.
The game’s opening goal, while ultimately worth the wait, proved elusive in the first half despite ample scoring opportunities for both sides.
The Swope Park Rangers started the game on the front foot and twice threatened off set pieces inside the first 10 minutes. Nineteen-year-old midfielder Felipe Hernandez tested Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda in the game’s fourth minute with a free kick that was saved at the near post, then Oumar Ballo did well to re-direct Robert Mirosavic’s corner kick with a glancing header only to see it cleared from inside the six-yard box. Mirosavic came close himself in the 14th minute, spinning and shooting just wide of the far post.
The visitors forced four saves from SPR goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas in the first half, none better than in the 24th minute when Zendejas tipped a superb header from Joey Calistri over the bar. Joaquin Rivas saw his shot from the right side of the penalty area turned away in the 41st minute by Zendejas, who would preserve the first half clean sheet in stoppage time by smothering a header from Ian Svantesson.
Iwasa took the field to start the second half as the only change for either side at halftime and he wasted little time in making an impact with a 56th-minute strike into the top corner from 30 yards out to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Parker Maher won the ball off Svantesson inside the defensive half and pushed forward to eventually provide the final pass, setting up a highlight-reel finish from the 23-year-old Iwasa.
The Rangers nearly doubled the lead in the 71st minute on a beautifully developed build-up from the back, beginning with Zendejas and culminating with Gonzalez in a one-on-one situation with Cerda. The Chilean goalkeeper was up to the task and deflected the chipped effort with his outstretched right leg.
The save proved pivotal as the Roughnecks pulled level in the 75th minute when Calistri, a Chicago Fire homegrown signing on loan to Tulsa, played a dangerous service across the goalmouth that found the back of the net off an errant clearance from Ballo.
Despite 91-degree conditions, both sides continued to push forward in search of the game-winning goal. Tulsa captain Juan Caffa, a veteran of Spain’s La Liga, was inches from putting his side ahead in the 81st minute if not for Zendejas tipping the attempt over the crossbar.
Instead, it was the run of Kharlton Belmar in the 90th minute that earned a penalty kick for the Rangers when he was brought down by Cuban international Jorge Luis Corrales just inside the right edge of the penalty area. Gonzalez stepped to the spot and marked his return from injury with an emphatic finish into the bottom left corner.
The dramatic game-winner would be his first of two goals in a matter of 90 seconds as he sealed the victory in the 93rd minute, racing onto a through ball from Lebo Moloto and burying a right-footed shot into the back of the net for his third goal of the season and his third career multi-goal game. Gonzalez, 22, was the club’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 with a team-high 12 goals in USL play as a rookie.
- The Rangers will host Phoenix Rising FC (5-5-0, 8th place) at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday, June 18 at Swope Soccer Village. The teams played to a seven-goal thriller on April 23 in Arizona and the rematch will see former Sporting KC striker Omar Bravo return to Kansas City as part of a Rising FC attack that also includes fellow World Cup veterans Didier Drogba and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
- Tickets for the Father’s Day match-up are available online at SeatGeek.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL to take advantage of a special $22 offer that includes a general admission ticket, all-inclusive food (hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and baked beans) and drink (Coca-Cola products and bottled water) until halftime, as well as two 12-ounce beers for guests 21 and over.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
June 11, 2017 – Children’s Mercy Victory Field (Kansas City, Mo.)
Swope Park Rangers 3, Tulsa Roughnecks FC 1
SPR – Cameron Iwasa 1 (Parker Maher 2) 56’
TUL – Oumar Ballo (own goal) 75’
SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez 2 (penalty kick) 91+
SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez 3 (Lebo Moloto 2) 93+
TUL – Francisco Ugarte (caution; reckless foul) 11
SPR – Kharlton Belmar (caution; reckless foul) 21
TUL – Pavel Kondrakhin (caution; reckless foul) 87
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Parker Maher, Liam Doyle, Oumar Ballo, Dakota Barnathan; James Musa, Christian Duke ©, Felipe Hernandez (Lebo Moloto 60); Kharlton Belmar, Robert Mirosavic (Cameron Iwasa 46), Nansel Selbol (Mark Anthony Gonzalez 64)
Substitutes Not Used: Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, David Greczek, Chase Bromstedt, Louis Bennett
STATS: Shots 14, Shots on Goal 7, Corners 3, Fouls 7, Possession 50%
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Fabian Cerda; Kosuke Kimura, Modou Jadama, Francisco Ugarte, Jorge Luis Corrales; Paris Gee (Bradley Bourgeois 69), Collin Fernandez (Brady Ballew 78), Joey Calistri, Juan Pablo Caffa ©, Joaquin Rivas; Ian Svantesson (Pavel Kondrakhin 70)
Substitutes Not Used: Jaime Ayala, Bryan Byars
STATS: Shots 12, Shots on Goal 7, Corners 8, Fouls 8, Possession 50%
Referee: Jon Freemon
Assistant Referees: Shane Kennard and Ryan Cook
Fourth Official: Luis Tribaldo
Weather: Sunny and 91 degrees