The Swope Park Rangers defeated Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night at Papa Murphy’s Park to advance to the next round of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs. The back-to-back Western Conference Champions remain alive in the USL Cup Playoffs for the third straight year and will now face Phoenix Rising FC at 9:30 p.m. CT on Friday, October 26 in Phoenix for the Western Conference Semifinals.
Sacramento would score an early goal in the 16th minute when Villyan Bijev would send a right-footed shot into the bottom left of the goal, putting Sacramento ahead 1-0. Sporting KC loanee Eric Dick would make a diving save in the 19th minute to keep the Republic's lead from doubling.
In the 26th minute, Rassambek Akhmatov would go on a great run that would result in a corner taken by Sporting KC Academy product Felipe Hernandez. The ball would fall to Sporting KC loanee and SKC Academy product Wan Kuzain, who would show off some fancy footwork and beat Sacramento goalkeeper Josh Cohen to notch the game at 1-1.
Hadji Barry would then net his 18th goal of the season with the game-winning goal in the 31st minute. Akhmatov would pick up the assist with a great ball to Barry and SPR would take a 2-1 lead.
Sporting KC loanee Kharlton Belmar would nearly tap in a Rangers third goal off a Tyler Blackwood pass, but Cohen would be there to make the stop in the 48th minute. In the 50th minute, an attempt from Jur Matjasic would strike the left post.
Barry would take a ball from Hernandez and send a strike toward the goal in the 69th minute, but Cohen would be there to make the save. Hernandez would have a chance in the 73rd minute, but his attempt too would be stopped. Hernandez would send a through ball to Blackwood in the 77th minute, but Blackwood’s shot would be saved by Cohen.
Swope Park Rangers goalkeeper Eric Dick recorded four saves in the 2-1 victory and the SPR defense - anchored by Graham Smith and Amer Didic - held Sacramento to a single shot on goal in the second half.
Saturday's victory was the team's first postseason win away from home and marked only the second time in club history that the Rangers have won a match on the road after conceding the first goal.
Swope Park Rangers at Sacramento Republic FC
October 20, 2018 – Papa Murphy’s Park
Swope Park Rangers 2, Sacramento Republic FC 1
SAC – Villyan Bijev 6 (unassisted) – 16’
SPR – Wan Kuzain 4 (unassisted) – 27’
SPR – Hadji Barry 18 (Rassambek Akhmatov 2) – 31’
SAC – Jure Matjasic (Yellow Card) – 38’
SPR – Rassambek Akhmatov (Yellow Card) – 58’
SAC – Elliot Hord (Yellow Card) – 68’
Swope Park Rangers: Eric Dick; Amer Didic, Graham Smith ©, Justin Bilyeu (Parker Maher 90), Colton Storm; Wan Kuzain, Rassambek Akhmatov, Felipe Hernandez (Matt Lewis 94+); Kharlton Belmar, Hadji Barry (Bryam Rebellon 82), Tyler Blackwood