The Swope Park Rangers (1-8-6, 9 points) close out the month of June when they welcome their rivals Saint Louis FC (5-3-5, 20 points) to Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. CT and tickets are available at SeatGeek.com or at the stadium box office beginning at 2 p.m. CT.
A live stream of the match will be offered on ESPN+ and in-game updates will be posted on the USL Championship MatchCenter. Fans can also follow @SwopeRangers on Twitter for live updates throughout the match.
Paulo Nagamura is in his second year as head coach of the Rangers. SPR currently sits in 18th place in the Eastern Conference, but with the standings being so congested, they are only a few wins away from being back in the playoff hunt. Children’s Mercy Park has served the Rangers well this season. Seven of their nine points have come at home, and four of their last five home games have ended in at least a draw.
The Rangers also enter this contest with some momentum. In their previous match, the Rangers took the field against the Charleston Battery. The Battery jumped ahead in the 62nd minute off Romario Piggott’s close-range goal. This lit a fire in the Rangers as they attempted to mount a comeback. In the 82nd minute, they got their equalizer when Felipe Hernandez buried the ball off the post from well beyond the box. The 1-1 scoreline would hold, and the Rangers left Charleston with a point.
🎥 The Rangers got a road result last night after Felipe Hernandez equalized late in the game with this stunner of the post. @Fe1ipe98 leads all Rangers with six goals. #SPRBelieve pic.twitter.com/9nhTcijFdR— Swope Park Rangers (@SwopeRangers) June 23, 2019
Hernandez’s dramatic late game goal was his sixth of the season. He leads all Rangers in scoring, while Jerome Ngom Mbekeli and Wilson Harris are second with two each. Several other Rangers have one goal. Alexsander still leads the way in assists with five on the season thus far. Killian Colombie took over second when he assisted Hernandez versus Charleston for his third assist. Hernandez and Mbekeli have two assists apiece.
Sunday’s game will be the second meeting between SPR and Saint Louis FC in 2019. Saint Louis took the first game by a score of 3-1 on April 27. The hosts took the lead in the 42nd minute when Audi Jepson’s shot hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced back in, then doubled their lead off Russell Cicerone’s solo goal in the 47th. Alexsander pulled one back for the Rangers with his shot off the post, and SPR nearly equalized when Wan Kuzain fired a shot off the crossbar, but he didn’t get the same bounce as Jepson. Kyle Greg and Saint Louis scored in the 84th minute and secured three home points.
Anthony Pulis is also entering his second year as a head coach. Last year he led Saint Louis FC to the playoffs for the first time. This year he has them right in the thick of things as they’re currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also found success in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. On June 19, they defeated MLS club FC Cincinnati 1-0 in the Round of 16 and advanced to the quarterfinals. They are the only remaining USL Championship team in the competition and have a date with reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United on July 10 in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Defender Sam Fink leads all Saint Louis FC players in goals with four. Russell Cicerone is close in second with three goals. The forward’s last goal came against the Rangers back in April. Kyle Greig has found the back of the net twice and multiple players for Saint Louis FC have one goal.
Fans should keep an eye on Hernandez (six goals, two assists) in this match. The Sporting KC Academy product has played nearly 1,200 minutes in the midfield for the Rangers already, and he leads the team in goals while ranking third in assists. He can score from anywhere on the field and if he gets space in and around the box, get ready for some excitement.
USL Championship: Game 16 of 34
Date: Sunday, June 30, 2019
Kickoff: 4 p.m. CT
Location: Children’s Mercy Park (Kansas City, Kansas)
Live Stream: ESPN+
Swope Park Rangers: 1-8-6 (9 points, 18th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: Sporting Kansas City
Saint Louis FC: 5-3-5 (20 points, 9th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: None