The Swope Park Rangers (6-17-7, 25 points) cruised to a 3-1 victory over Birmingham Legion FC (11-13-6, 39 points) at Children’s Mercy Park on Monday night. Wilson Harris scored his eighth goal in his last nine games to open the scoring, before Ayyoub Allach notched his first goal for the club from the penalty spot. J.J. Williams pulled a goal back for Birmingham, but after Brian Wright was sent off for the visitors, Ze Pedro made the points safe.
The Rangers thought they’d taken the lead in the fourth minute, but the flag went up after Harris slid Jaylin Lindsey’s cross through the legs of Matt VanOekel.
Harris wasn’t to be denied as just four minutes later, the Sporting KC Academy product got on the end of Alexsander’s cross and flicked the ball into the bottom corner with his back heel to give his side a 1-0 lead and tally his 10th goal of the season.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for Harris as he limped off the field in the 20th minute with a knock to be replaced by Ze Pedro.
The Rangers doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Felipe Hernandez was brought down just inside the area by Anderson Asiedu. Allach stepped up to send VanOekel the wrong way from the spot for his first SPR goal.
Birmingham pulled themselves back into the game just seconds before the interval, as Columbus Crew loanee Williams rose highest to meet Razak Cromwell’s and crash a header into the corner to cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1.
The Rangers came out of the gates on the front foot to begin the second half, as Alexsander’s cutback was cleared from the toe of Wan Kuzain before Ze Pedro dragged a shot wide a few minutes later.
SPR then rattled the woodwork in the 62nd minute as Ze Pedro’s free kick from the right wing was sliced toward his own goal by Brian Wright, but luckily for the New England Revolution loanee the ball ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar and out.
In the 72nd minute, Kuzain dribbled beyond his marker and rounded VanOekel, but with the angle against him, he wasn’t able to squeeze his shot on target as it hit the side-netting.
Birmingham was reduced to 10 men in the 76th minute as Wright was guilty of shoving SPR substitute Tucker Lepley in the neck while trying to retrieve the ball for a free kick.
It took the Rangers all of three minutes to make their advantage count. Kuzain broke forward from midfield and fed Ze Pedro on the left wing, and the Portuguese forward took a touch before lashing the ball into the bottom corner with aplomb to make the final score 3-1.
The Rangers hit the road this weekend as the side travels to take on Hartford Athletic – coached by Sporting legend Jimmy Nielsen – at Dillon Stadium in Connecticut on Saturday, Oct. 5 with kickoff set for 6 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.
2019 USL Championship
Game 30 of 34
Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, KS
Weather: 82 degrees and partly cloudy
|Swope Park Rangers (6-17-7, 25 points)||2||1||3|
|Birmingham Legion FC (11-13-6, 39 points)||1||0||1|
Swope Park Rangers: Eric Dick; Jaylin Lindsey, Kaveh Rad, Graham Smith (C), Alexsander; Ayyoub Allach, Felipe Hernandez, Wan Kuzain; Jimmy Medranda (Tucker Lepley 60’), Wilson Harris (Ze Pedro 21’), Tyler Freeman
Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Camden Riley, Mark Segbers, Rassambek Akhmatov, Killian Colombie
Birmingham Legion FC: Matt VanOekel; Razak Cromwell, Kyle Fisher, Mikey Lopez (C), Akeem Ward (Eric Avila 73’); Anderson Asiedu (Marcos Ugarte 86’), Zachary Herivaux, Prosper Kasim; Daniel Johnson (Kyle Culbertson 56’), Brian Wright, J.J. Williams
Subs Not Used: Trevor Spangenberg, Benjamin Kucera, Joe Holland, Femi Hollinger-Janzen
SPR – Wilson Harris 10 (Alexsander 6) 7’
SPR – Ayyoub Allach 1 (Penalty Kick) 28’
BHM – J.J. Williams 7 (Razak Cromwell 1) 45’
SPR – Ze Pedro 3 (Wan Kuzain 2) 79’
BHM – Kyle Clubertson (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 62’
SPR – Ayyoub Allach (Yellow Card; Persistent Infringement) 66’
BHM – Brian Wright (Red Card; Violent Conduct) 76’
SPR – Tucker Lepley (Yellow Card; Time Wasting) 77’
BHM – Anderson Asiedu (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 80’
SPR – Eric Dick (Yellow Card; Time Wasting) 90’
|Shots on Goal||7||2|
Referee: Lorant Varga
Assistant Referee: Jack Ryan-Feldman
Assistant Referee: Ryan Cook
Fourth Official: Luis Tribaldo