The Swope Park Rangers (3-1-0, 9 points) secured a 1-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (1-3-0, 3 points) at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday night. Tyler Blackwood’s first goal as a Ranger was the deciding factor in gaining three points on the night and moving atop the USL's Western Conference standings.
Fifteen-year-old homegrown Sporting KC loanee Gianluca Busio made his professional debut in the victory and bagged his first professional assist.
The Rangers had a total of eight Sporting KC players loaned down for the game with seven in the starting lineup. SPR had a blazing start with Sporting KC loanee Diego Rubio making an attempt in the second minute, but Switchbacks goalkeeper Moise Pouaty was there to make the stop.
In the seventh minute, Busio made a beautifully timed pass to Blackwood, who scored on a right-footed shot from the far side of the box that sailed past a defender and the goalie into the bottom left corner. SPR would take the lead over the Switchbacks 1-0.
An offsides call on Blackwood ruined a chance off a great ball by Sporting KC loanee Graham Smith in the 30th minute.
Colorado Springs started to fight back in the latter part of the first half. In the 33nd minute, a shot from Jamal Jack went high and sailed over the crossbar.
Sporting KC loanee Adrian Zendejas made two great saves, one coming in the 39th minute when Colorado Springs captain Josh Suggs made an attempt from the center of the box and Zendejas punched it away. Another wonderful save happened in the 42nd minute when he made a one-on-one stop versus Switchbacks FC's Shane Malcolm.
Cristian Lobato connected a cross to fellow Sporting KC loanee Emiliano Amor, who made a right-footed attempt from close range, in the 51st minute, but it sailed just high. In the 53rd minute, Diego Rubio made a beautiful pass to Hadji Barry, but Barry’s effort was just off target as he drilled the right post.
In the 76th minute, Blackwood recorded a shot from the center of the box that appeared to be on target to increase the Rangers lead, but Pouaty was there with the touch and knocked it off course. The Rangers would seal out the victory and extend the club's home unbeaten streak to 11 matches.
Gianluca Busio made his professional debut at the age of 15. Busio is a Sporting KC Academy product and Sporting KC Homegrown player signing. He is the second youngest player to appear in a USL match this season and sixth youngest to appear in USL history. In the first half of the game, he had a passing accuracy of 100 percent (30/30) with one assist, two key passes and three crosses (all player highs for the first half).
SPR travels to play at San Antonio FC (1-1-1, 4 pts) on Saturday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. CT at Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas. The Rangers next home game will be versus Oklahoma City FC on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Shawnee Mission South District Stadium.
Swope Park Rangers vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
April 4, 2018 – Children’s Mercy Park
Swope Park Rangers 1, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 0
SPR – Tyler Blackwood 1 (Gianluca Busio 1) – 7’
SPR – Hadji Barry (Yellow Card) – 58’
COS – Shane Malcolm (Yellow Card) – 69’
SPR – Matheus Silva (Yellow Card) – 90’ +2’
SPR – Diego Rubio (Yellow Card) – 90’ +3’
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Jaylin Lindsey; Emiliano Amor; Graham Smith; Cristian Lobato; Wan Kuzain (Matheus Silva 45’); Gianluca Busio (Felipe Hernandez 77’); Rodrigo Saravia; Hadji Barry (Camilo Benitez 80’); Diego Rubio; Tyler Blackwood.