Swope Park Rangers falls to first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 on late penalty

The Swope Park Rangers fell to a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat against the first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium in Florida on Saturday night. A late Leo Fernandes penalty was enough to see the unbeaten league-leaders claim all three points on home soil and move the Rangers to 1-6-4 (7 points) on the season.

Both sides enjoyed a lively start to the game as first Sebastian Guenzatti tested Adrian Zendejas in the Rangers goal, only for the Sporting KC loanee to save and hold the shot, before Wilson Harris blasted an effort inches wide of the post from 25 yards.

Moments later, Sean Karani sped down the left wing and fed Harris in the middle before the Academy product had his pocket picked by Mohamed Kone at the vital moment. The Rowdies almost took the lead in the 22nd minute when Leo Fernandes’ low strike ricocheted off the inside of the post and out with Zendejas beaten.

Zendejas was in the midst of a fine performance and did extremely well to tip away Fernandes’ cross right before halftime with two Tampa Bay players waiting for a tap-in at the far post.

The second half saw the hosts take more and more control of the game, with Fernandes and Adam Najem each seeing chances from inside the area go begging. In the 67th minute, former MLS player Kwadwo Poku saw his shot heroically blocked by Academy product Mo Abualnadi inside his own six-yard area, before Juan Tejada rifled a shot narrowly over the bar from close range.

In a move reminiscent of the Rangers’ second goal during Wednesday’s draw with Memphis, Paulo Nagamura’s side once again built beautifully from back to front in the 70th minute, resulting in a chance for Rassambek Akhmatov who dragged his shot wide from 20 yards.

Eventually, the Tampa Bay pressure paid off as Fernandes was brought down in the penalty area by Mark Segbers in the 80th minute. Fernandes dusted himself off to convert the penalty kick himself, firing low just beyond the dive of Zendejas.

The Rowdies almost added a second in the 88th minute but Zendejas was able to deny substitute Zach Steinberger before Alexsander cleared the ball off the line as Tampa Bay improved to 7-0-5 on the season and solidified their spot atop the Eastern Conference standings.

The Rangers will now have a bye week to regroup before hosting expansion side Loudon United at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday, June 5 with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live via ESPN+ while tickets are available via SeatGeek.com.

2019 USL Championship
Game 11 of 34

Al Lang Stadium | St. Petersburg, Florida
Attendance: 5,688
Weather: 90 degrees and cloudy

Score

1

2

F

Swope Park Rangers (1-6-4, 7 points)

0

0

0

Tampa Bay Rowdies (7-0-5, 26 points)

0

1

1

Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas (C); Mark Segbers, Kaveh Rad, Mo Abualnadi, Alexsander; Camden Riley, Felipe Hernandez, Rassambek Akhmatov; Will Little (Jerome Ngom Mbekeli 68’), Wilson Harris (Ethan Vanacore-Decker 83’), Sean Karani (Killian Colombie)
Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Jake Davis, Jahon Rad, Tyler Freeman

Tampa Bay Rowdies: John McCarthy; Mohamed Kone, Tarek Morad, Caleb Richards; David Najem (Antoine Hoppenot 61’), Kwadwo Poku (Zach Steinberger 70’), Jordan Doherty, Andrew Tinari, Leo Fernandes; Sebastian Guenzatti (C) (Malik Johnson 79’), Juan Tejada
Subs Not Used: Chris Konopka, Ryan Felix, Brandon Allen, Leon Taylor

Scoring Summary:
TBR – Leo Fernandes 2 (Penalty Kick) 82’

Misconduct Summary:
SPR – Wilson Harris (Yellow Card; Time Wasting) 78’
SPR – Alexsander (Yellow Card; Argument) 81’
TBR – Antoine Hoppenot (Yellow card; Argument) 81’
SPR – Rassambek Akhmatov (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 83’

Stat

SPR

TBR

Shots

6

16

Shots on Goal

0

4

Saves

3

0

Fouls

13

10

Offsides

2

4

Corner Kicks

0

8

Referee: Thomas Snyder
Assistant Referee: Matthew Osterhouse
Assistant Referee: Matthew Schwartz
Fourth Official: Madzid Coric

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