The Swope Park Rangers (16-7-7, T-2nd in West) secured a valuable road point with a Kharlton Belmar equalizer in second half stoppage time to claim a 2-2 draw against Rio Grande Valley FC (9-13-8, 11th in West) at H-E-B Park on Saturday night. Belmar’s team-leading 14th goal of the season was key to lifting the Rangers into a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 55 points.
Rio Grande Valley opened the scoring in the seventh minute of play with a finish from Joseph Holland. The ball squirmed through traffic to the feet of Justin Bilyeu who slipped Holland in behind the Rangers’ backline. Holland’s calm finish beat Zendejas at his near post.
The Swope Park Rangers almost got on the board in the 51st minute after an errant pass from RGV was collected by Lebo Moloto who found Belmar on the overlap, but the RGV goalkeeper, Borja Angoitia came off his line to make a kick save to preserve his side’s lead.
Rio Grande Valley doubled their lead in the 63rd minute of play. Kyle Murphy produced a clinical finish after the SPR back line misjudged an Omar Ontiveros ball over the top.
Nikola Popovic's side out-possessed Rio Grande Valley FC 64 percent to 36 percent and the high press forced an own goal in the 75th minute. A quick restart thrown in to Parker Maher, who took one touch and sent the ball toward the far post for Christian Duke. The team captain headed the ball back across the frame of the goal and RGV defender Kevin Garcia slid the ball over the goalline with Belmar hovering over his left shoulder.
Oumar Ballo almost equalized in the 90th after he forced a turnover and played a give-and-go with Duke before seeing his low shot denied by another Angoitia kick save.
Belmar’s equalizer came in the 91st minute as Kuzain slipped the 24-year-old striker into the home side’s six-yard box. Angoitia blocked his first attempt, but Belmar was on hand to head home the rebound and complete the comeback as the game ended 2-2.
- The Swope Park Rangers heads to OKC Energy FC on Sunday, October 8 at Taft Stadium with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live on YouTube.com/USL and in-game updates will be available from the team’s social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Swope Park Rangers at Rio Grande Valley
September 30, 2017 – H-E-B Park (Edinburg, Texas)
Swope Park Rangers 2, Rio Grande Valley FC 2
RGV – Joseph Holland 3 (Justin Bilyeu 7) 7’
RGV – Kyle Murphy 6 (Omar Ontiveros 1) 64’
SPR – Own Goal (Kevin Garcia) 75’
SPR – Kharlton Belmar 14 (Unassisted) 91+
RGV – Kyle Murphy (Yellow Card) 12’
SPR – Christian Duke (Yellow Card) 87’
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Colton Storm, Oumar Ballo, Liam Doyle, Tyler Pasher (Parker Maher 73’); Kuzain, Kevin Oliveira (Felipe Hernandez 66’), Christian Duke ©, Kharlton Belmar, Lebo Moloto, Nansel Selbol (Max Rugova 71’).
Substitutes Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Joe Amico, Dakota Barnathan, Robert Mirosavic.
Rio Grande Valley: Borja Angoitia; Justin Bilyeu, Ivan Magalhaes, Kevin Garcia, Omar Ontiveros (Kai Greene 71’); Todd Wharton, Christian Lucatero (Nicolas Perea 79’), Eric Bird, Joseph Holland, TJ Casner; Kyle Murphy (Ruben Luna 67’).
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Kirk, Leo Ayala, Robbie Sagel, Emilio Garcia.
Referee: Mark Allatin
Assistant Referees: Patrick Muana and Christopher Scruggs
Fourth Official: Israel Lara