The Swope Park Rangers (4-16-7, 19 points) claimed a narrow 1-0 victory over North Carolina FC (13-8-8, 47 points) at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday afternoon. Sporting KC Academy product Wilson Harris bagged the only goal of the game in the 58th minute, expertly converting Jaylin Lindsey’s low cross.
The Rangers began the game on the front foot and created the first chance in the seventh minute when Felipe Hernandez sprung Harris into the area, but his thunderous effort from a tight angle whizzed narrowly wide of the post.
Harris snuck in behind the North Carolina backline once again in the 17th minute, latching onto a sumptuous defense-splitting ball from Alexsander but could only prod his finish into the legs of Alex Tambakis as he stretched for the ball.
North Carolina responded with a chance of their own as some intricate play around the box allowed Donovan Ewolo to side-foot an attempt toward the far post that slid inches wide of the post. Minutes later, John Pulskamp was forced into his first real action of the day as he dove to his left to palm away Steven Miller’s stinging volley.
The Rangers had a penalty shout in the 23rd minute when Tyler Freeman nutmegged Alex Comsia inside the area before being bundled over from behind, but referee Tori Penso waved play on.
In the 29th minute, Ayyoub Allach caused a turnover in midfield and immediately fed Hernandez 25 yards from goal and the recent Sporting KC Homegrown signing lashed a low effort wide of the target with Tambakis diving to his right.
Seven minutes later, Freeman forced Tambakis into the save of the game. Harris laid the ball off to his fellow Sporting KC Academy product on the edge of the area, and Freeman’s curling effort seemed destined for the bottom corner before Tambakis’ fingertip took it around the post.
Early in the second half, Kuzain embarked on a slaloming run through the North Carolina defense, leaving four players in his wake before being chopped down. The Sporting KC loanee stepped up to take the ensuing free kick and forced Tambakis to tip his swerving effort over the bar. From the corner, Kuzain whipped in a teasing ball that found Rennico Clarke free in the area, but the Jamaican headed the ball inches over the bar.
The Rangers finally found the breakthrough in the 58th minute through Harris. Allach fed Sporting KC loanee Lindsey on the right wing and the young right back whipped in a delightful first-time cross that found Harris at the near post, who showed terrific awareness to flick the ball beyond Tambakis and into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season to make the score 1-0.
Hernandez almost doubled the lead in the first minute of second-half stoppage time when he spun away from his marker down the left wing before cutting inside and lashing an effort on goal that Tambakis did well to beat away to keep it a one-goal game – which is how it would end as the Ranges saw out the remainder of stoppage time to claim their first back-to-back shutouts of the season.
The Rangers hit the road next weekend as the side travels to take on the Charlotte Independence at Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday, Sept. 21 with kickoff set for 6 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.
2019 USL Championship
Game 27 of 34
Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, KS
Weather: 86 degrees and partly cloudy
|Swope Park Rangers (4-16-7, 19 points)||0||1||1|
|North Carolina FC (13-8-8, 47 points)||0||0||0|
Swope Park Rangers: John Pulskamp; Jaylin Lindsey, Kaveh Rad, Rennico Clarke, Alexsander; Ayyoub Allach, Felipe Hernandez (C), Wan Kuzain; Tucker Lepley (Mark Segbers 96+), Wilson Harris (Ethan Vanacore-Decker 79’), Tyler Freeman (Rassambek Akhmatov 70’)
Subs Not Used: Gavin Krenecki, Tucker Stephenson, Killian Colombie, Ze Pedro
North Carolina FC: Alex Tambakis; D.J. Taylor, Alex Comsia, Sam Brotherton, Aaron Guillen; Graham Smith, Austin da Luz (C), Donovan Ewolo (Caleb Duvernay 89’), Dre Fortune (Justin Rennicks 78’), Steven Miller (Manny Perez 78’); Robert Kristo
Subs Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Duval Wapiwo, Victor Igbekoyi, Austin Panchot
SPR – Wilson Harris 6 (Jaylin Lindsey 1) 58’
NC – Manny Perez (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 88’
NC – Austin da Luz (Yellow Card; Dissent) 91+
SPR – Rassambek Akhmatov (Yellow Card; Dissent) 92+
|Shots on Goal||6||2|
Referee: Tori Penso
Assistant Referee: Zach McWhorter
Assistant Referee: Truman Berghall
Fourth Official: Brian Bauer