The Swope Park Rangers (10-4-2, 3rd place) set a single-season club record by recording their fifth straight victory on Wednesday afternoon, topping Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (4-9-4, 12th place) 1-0 at UBC Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver, Canada. The win also set an all-time club record by extending its unbeaten streak to eight games, having not lost a game since May.
The Rangers were the first to threaten when Lebo Moloto slid a low pass through to the onrushing Kevin Oliveira, but Whitecaps FC 2 goalkeeper Sean Melvin was equal to his effort before also getting a leg on Nansel Selbol’s follow-up attempt.
In the 17th minute, Marcos Bustos broke in behind the Rangers’ midfield and played a ball across to Nazeem Bartman with only Adrian Zendejas to beat, but the Sporting KC loanee came off his line quickly and put him off as Bartman blazed his shot over.
Five minutes later, Selbol was again posing danger for the Vancouver goal. He dispossessed Kadin Chung on the left wing before dribbling directly at the heart of the Whitecaps FC 2 defense, but he scuffed his shot into the ground, which allowed Melvin to gather.
Bustos spurned another excellent opportunity for the hosts in the 30th minute when Gloire Amanda found him on the top of the box, but his rising shot floated narrowly over the crossbar. Moments later, Bustos weaved his way into the SPR area and fired a close-range shot off the underside of the bar before Zendejas was able to palm away Amanda’s rebound.
Oliveira continued to pester the Vancouver backline as he caused a turnover in the 43rd minute before bearing down on goal and striking toward the bottom corner but Melvin got down well to push it away. A minute later, Moloto and Mark Anthony Gonzalez each saw decent chances blocked inside the Whitecaps FC 2 area as the halftime score remained 0-0.
David Norman took aim immediately at the start of the second half for the hosts, but once again Zendejas was equal to his effort from distance. In the 51st minute, Francis De Vries couldn’t hit the target from McKendry’s free kick delivery, awarded after a dubious handball decision against Dakota Barnathan.
Melvin once again denied Selbol in the 60th minute, as the Sporting KC Academy product latched onto Moloto’s through ball but his powerful low attempt was blocked by the Vancouver ‘keeper.
The Rangers took the lead in the 65th minute when Kharlton Belmar, who had replaced Selbol just three minutes earlier, glanced Oliveira’s brilliant free-kick delivery into the bottom corner to make the score 1-0 to the Rangers. The goal put Belmar back into a tie for the team lead in goals with five, while Oliveira became the club’s assist leader with his fifth of the year.
SPR should’ve doubled the lead in the 80th minute when Belmar burst through several challenges down the left and cut a ball back toward Oliveira who took a touch and fired a yard or two over the bar.
The hosts began pressing in the closing stages, with substitute Will Seymore lashing a volleyed attempt well over the bar after the Rangers head half-cleared a free kick from Whitecaps FC 2. Fellow substitute Myer Bevan came close to rescuing a point for Vancouver but Zendejas got down to his left to hold his well-struck shot deep into stoppage time as the Rangers claimed the 1-0 victory.
- The Swope Park Rangers continue their three-game road swing in the Pacific Northwest with a matchup against Portland Timbers 2 on Sunday, July 16. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. CT with the match streamed live on SportingKC.com and in-game updates will be available through the team’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
July 12, 2017 – UBC Thunderbird Stadium (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Swope Park Rangers 1, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 0
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 5 (Kevin Oliveira 5) 65’
VAN – Deklan Wynne (Yellow Card) 64’
VAN – Ben McKendry (Yellow Card) 73’
SPR – Liam Doyle (Yellow Card) 84’
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Dakota Barnathan, Amer Didic, Liam Doyle, Parker Maher; James Musa, Lebo Moloto (Felipe Hernandez 78’), Christian Duke ©; Kevin Oliveira, Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Cameron Iwasa 75’), Nansel Selbol (Kharlton Belmar 62’).
Substitutes Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Louis Bennett, Kuzain, Robert Mirosavic.
STATS: Shots 14, Shots on Goal 6, Corners 2, Fouls 14, Possession 64.6%
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: Sean Melvin; Kadin Chung, Cole Seiler, Francis De Vries ©, Deklan Wynne; David Norman (Will Symore 75’), Ben McKendry, Marco Bustos; Gloire Amanda (Thomas Gardner 75’), Thomas Sanner (Myer Bevan 60’), Nazeem Bartman.
Substitutes Not Used: Mark Village, Dominick Zator, Patrick Metcalfe.
STATS: Shots 9, Shots on Goal 3, Corners 2, Fouls 13, Possession 35.4%