Nansel Selbol and Kharlton Belmar came off the bench to score second-half goals on Friday as the Swope Park Rangers (12-5-5, 2nd place) rallied for a 2-2 draw against Real Monarchs (16-3-4, 1st place) in a battle of the top two teams in the USL’s Western Conference at Swope Soccer Village.
The visitors opened the scoring in the game’s eighth minute with a well-taken free kick from Daniel Haber. His fifth goal of the year curled over the wall from 25 yards out and into the top corner past a diving Adrian Zendejas.
Though Mark Anthony Gonzalez and Felipe Hernandez each came close to responding for SPR, it was the Real Monarchs who made the most of their chances in the first half and doubled their lead in the 26th minute. Andrew Brody delivered a delightful cross for Kyle Curinga, who buried a header from the top of the six-yard box for his second goal of the season.
Despite the deficit, the Rangers would respond in impressive fashion. Defensively, SPR would hold Real Monarchs without another shot on goal until the 90th minute when Zendejas preserved the point with a fantastic foot save.
Offensively, Lebo Moloto twice threatened with attempts on target on both sides of the halftime intermission, and Gonzalez nearly pulled off a moment of brilliance in the 59th minute, but it was two substitutions by head coach Nikola Popovic that ultimately turned the tide. Fifteen minutes after stepping onto the pitch, the 20-year-old Selbol – a Sporting KC Academy product – pulled a goal back with his fifth goal of the season on a right-footed strike from distance.
Then with the clock ticking toward full time, Belmar capped off the comeback with his team-leading eighth goal of the season on a beautifully-worked goal from the left flank. Tyler Pasher’s overlapping run produced a pinpoint pass into the path of Belmar for a first-time finish that gives the former USL Rookie of the Year goals in back-to-back games.
Selbol and Belmar each have three goals as substitutes in 2017, tied for third most in the USL along with Gonzalez. Friday’s result – SPR’s third straight draw – sees the Rangers move into second place in the West, 11 points back of Real Monarchs with 10 games remaining in the regular season.
- The Swope Park Rangers will travel to California to take on Sacramento Republic FC (10-6-4, 5th place) at 10 p.m. CT on Wednesday, August 23. The match will be streamed live on SportingKC.com and in-game updates will be available from the team’s social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Real Monarchs
August 18, 2017 – Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Mo.)
Swope Park Rangers 2-2 Real Monarchs
SLC – Daniel Haber 5 (free kick) 8’
SLC – Kyle Curinga 2 (Andrew Brody 4) 26’
SPR – Nansel Selbol 5 (Kharlton Belmar 1) 60’
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 8 (Tyler Pasher 2) 82’
SPR – Lebo Moloto (caution; reckless foul) 67’
SLC – Kyle Curinga (caution; reckless foul) 88’
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Colton Storm, Oumar Ballo, Liam Doyle, Tyler Pasher; Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, Christian Duke (C), Felipe Hernandez (Nansel Selbol 46); Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Cameron Iwasa 84), Lebo Moloto, Robert Mirosavic (Kharlton Belmar 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Parker Maher, Amer Didic, Dakota Barnathan
STATS: Shots 19, Shots on Goal 6, Corners 8, Fouls 16, Possession 52.6%
Real Monarchs: Matt Van Oekel; James Moberg, Max Lachoweski, Kyle Curinga, Taylor Peay; Nick Besler (C), Sebastian Velasquez, Andrew Brody, Daniel Haber (Skyler Milne 83), Charlie Adams (Jose Hernandez 63); Chandler Hoffman (Danny Cruz 72)
Substitutes Not Used: Emilio Orozco, Connor Sparrow, Karsten Hanlin, Justin Schmidt
STATS: Shots 5, Shots on Goal 3, Corners 4, Fouls 5, Possession 47.4%
Referee: Malik Badawi
Assistant Referees: John Krill and Austin Sanders
Fourth Official: Daniel Ortega
Weather: Cloudy and 82 degrees