The Swope Park Rangers fought to a 0-0 draw with the Charlotte Independence at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday afternoon. Both sides had plenty of chances, taking a total of 30 shots between them, but neither side was able to find the breakthrough as the Rangers move to to 1-7-5 (8 points) on the season.
The visitors threatened first as MLS veteran Dominic Oduro snuck in behind the Rangers backline, only for Adrian Zendejas to show his sharpness by coming off the line and smothering the pacey attacker as he entered the area. In the 11th minute, Zendejas again won the individual battle with Oduro by nipping the ball off his toes as the Charlotte attacker looked poised to score.
Oduro was the main protagonist of the early stages and, after Ethan Vanacore-Decker had seen a powerful drive from distance stopped for the Rangers, Oduro once again went close as he lashed a volley wide of the target in the 26th minute. Moments later, Colorado Rapids loanee Niki Jackson rattled the crossbar with a powerful effort from the edge of the area.
The Rangers were awarded a penalty in the 40th minute when Ayyoub Allach was tripped in the area by Hassan Ndam, but Camden Riley’s resulting spot kick was palmed away for a corner by Brandon Miller as the game remained scoreless.
Moments before the break, Martinez set up early substitute Zyen Jones for a gilt-edged chance eight yards from goal, but the forward could only smash his effort over the bar with only Zendejas to beat. Into first-half stoppage time, Gianluca Busio won a free kick 25 yards from goal and Wan Kuzain lined up a trademark attempt, but his dipping and swerving shot was well gathered by Miller in the Charlotte goal.
The first real chance of the second half fell to the Rangers as Allach found Busio on the edge of the area, but his curling low effort was tipped around the post by Miller.
A 59th-minute double switch by Paulo Nagamura, inserting Jerome Ngom Mbekeli and Killian Colombie on the wings, gave the Rangers a boost and Mbekeli almost set up a goal for Busio with an excellent run, only for the 17-year-old Busio to fire narrowly wide.
Charlotte thought they’d taken the lead with an expertly-taken free kick by Abdoulie Mansally in the 76th minute, but Jorge Herrera was adjudged to have been interfering with Zendejas while standing in an offside position and the goal was ruled out.
The Rangers almost snatched all three points in the third minute of second-half stoppage time when Busio set up Mbekeli inside the area, but his powerful shot from an angle was palmed away by Miller. Zendejas ended the game with five saves as the Sporting KC goalkeeper posted his first shutout of the season.
The Rangers will hit the road next weekend to take on North Carolina FC at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, June 15 with kickoff set for 4 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live via ESPN+.
2019 USL Championship
Game 13 of 34
Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, KS
Weather: 86 degrees and sunny
|Swope Park Rangers (1-7-5, 8 points)||0||0||0|
|Charlotte Independence (1-7-6, 9 points)||0||0||0|
Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas (C); Mark Segbers, Kaveh Rad, Camden Riley, Alexsander; Wan Kuzain, Gedion Zelalem (Felipe Hernandez 71’), Gianluca Busio; Sean Karani (Jerome Ngom Mbekeli 59’), Ethan Vanacore-Decker, Ayyoub Allach (Killian Colombie 59’)
Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Dylan Hooper, Jake Davis, Wilson Harris
Charlotte Independence: Brandon Miller; Hassan Ndam, Steven Thicot, Aaron Maund; Abdoulie Mansally (Mark Hill 87’), Afrim Taku, Jake Areman, Andrew Gutman; Enzo Martinez (C); Niki Jackson (Zyen Jones 38’), Dominic Oduro (Jorge Herrera 66’)
Subs Not Used: Curtis Anderson, Cabwey Kivutuka, Valentin Sabella
CLT – Andrew Gutman (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 34’
CLT – Afrim Taku (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 36’
SPR – Mark Segbers (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 80’
|Shots on Goal||5||4|
Referee: Ismir Pekmic
Assistant Referee: Shane Kennard
Assistant Referee: Ryan Cook
Fourth Official: Brendan Sweetman