The Swope Park Rangers (13-7-6, 4th in West) fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat at Orange County SC (8-8-9, 10th in West) at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine, Calif. on Saturday night. Kharlton Belmar scored his 10th goal of the season and Kevin Oliveira saw a late penalty saved as the Rangers remained in fourth place of the 15-team USL Western Conference.
Orange County were the first to threaten in the seventh minute when Jerry van Ewijk sent a cross into the area that Walker Hume could only glance well wide when in a dangerous area. Six minutes later, Kevin Oliveira – making his first start since July 16 after returning from injury – won a free kick 25 yards out and stepped up to curl a shot over the bar.
Orange County called Sporting KC loanee Andrew Dykstra into action for the first time in the 19th minute when Rodrigo Pacheco – on loan from 2018 MLS expansion club Los Angeles FC – fired on target from 20 yards but Dykstra was equal to it.
In the 27th minute, Pacheco once again spurned a look at goal as he met a corner kick at the near post but sent his header comfortably over the bar. As the first half ticked on, Tyler Pasher laid the ball off to Dakota Barnathan who sliced an effort wide of goal.
Moments later, van Ewijk was involved once again, sending a 20-yard strike into the side-netting before the Rangers responded with Sporting KC Academy product Felipe Hernandez skewing a shot wide from 12 yards in the 39th minute.
Orange County were awarded a penalty in the 42nd minute when van Ewijk plummeted to the ground after gentle contact from Pasher just inside the penalty area. The Dutch forward stepped up to send Dykstra the wrong way from the spot and put the home side in a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
The Rangers equalized 40 seconds into the second half when Christian Duke’s pass over the top found a streaking Kharlton Belmar in on goal, and the 24-year-old buried his finish into the bottom corner for his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Dakota Barnathan almost gave the Rangers the lead in the 51st minute when his strike from 25 yards bounced inches wide of the post as the rookie midfielder sought his first professional goal. Three minutes later, Belmar sent a terrific cross into the back post that Cameron Iwasa met, but his looping header landed on the roof of the net.
Orange County retook the lead in the 65th minute when Juan Pablo Ocegueda curled in an inviting cross from the left that found Irvin Parra who planted a header into the bottom corner to make the score 2-1.
The Rangers were awarded a penalty in the 86th minute as substitute Nansel Selbol broke through behind the Orange County backline, skipped beyond Charlie Lyon and was brought down by the Orange County goalkeeper. Kevin Oliveira stepped up to take the spot kick, but Lyon atoned for his error by blocking the 21-year-old’s attempt with his feet.
Oliveira almost made amends in the 90th minute when Duke was brought down 25 yards out, and the Cape Verde international curled a stunning free kick that ricocheted off the crossbar and bounced out of play as the Rangers, who had more than twice as many shots as Orange County on the night, dropped to 13-7-6 and remain in fourth place in the Western Conference.
- The Swope Park Rangers head home next weekend to take on San Antonio FC at Swope Soccer Village on Sunday, Sept. 17. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. CT with the match streamed live on YouTube.com/USL and in-game updates will be available through the team’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Orange County SC
September 9, 2017 – Championship Soccer Stadium (Irvine, Calif.)
Swope Park Rangers 1, Orange County SC 2
OC – Jerry van Ewijk 6 (Penalty Kick) 43’
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 10 (Christian Duke 5) 46’
OC – Irvin Parra 7 (Juan Pablo Ocegueda 1) 65’
SPR – Liam Doyle (Yellow Card) 34’
SPR – Nansel Selbol (Yellow Card) 84’
OC – Gustavo Villalobos (Yellow Card) 89’
Swope Park Rangers: Andrew Dykstra; Colton Storm, Oumar Ballo, Liam Doyle (Max Rugova 77’), Tyler Pasher; Dakota Barnathan, Felipe Hernandez (Kuzain 70’), Christian Duke; Kharlton Belmar, Kevin Oliveira, Cameron Iwasa (Nansel Selbol 62’).
Substitutes Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Joe Amico, Will Little, Robert Mirosavic.
STATS: Shots 17, Shots on Goal 2, Corners 0, Fouls 13, Possession 57.5%
Orange County SC: Charlie Lyon ©; Joe Franco, Oscar Sorto, Walker Hume, Juan Pablo Ocegueda; Victor Pineda, Frank Olijve, Carlos Alvarez; Rodrigo Pacheco (Gustavo Villalobos 85’), Jerry van Ewijk (Wullito Fernandes 75’), Irvin Parra (Zach Kobayashi 76’).
Substitutes Not Used: Casey Beyers, Jeannot Esua, Roy Meeus, James Baxendale.
STATS: Shots 8, Shots on Goal 3, Corners 1, Fouls 13, Possession 42.5%