The Swope Park Rangers (6-17-8, 26 points) fought back to claim a dramatic 2-2 draw with Hartford Athletic (6-21-5, 23 points) in a pulsating affair at Dillon Stadium on Saturday night. Trailing 2-0 midway through the second half, the Rangers clawed their way back with a goal from Ayyoub Allach and a 97th-minute equalizer from Wilson Harris to snatch a point.
The Rangers were the first to threaten in the 18th minute when Mark Segbers strode forward from the back and picked out Ze Pedro, but the Portuguese winger’s strike from the edge of the area flashed just wide of the post.
SPR goalkeeper John Pulskamp was called into action for the first time in the 25th minute when Sebastian Dalgaard drove forward down the left wing and tried to catch Pulskamp at the near post, but the 18-year-old was up to the task and tipped the ball wide of goal.
Dalgaard was proving to be quite a nuisance for the Rangers backline and he tested Pulskamp yet again in the 39th minute, as he sprung to his left to palm away a curling effort that was destined for the far corner.
The Rangers came out flying to start the second half and won a penalty in the 49th minute when Segbers was barged over by Kansas City native Ray Lee in the Hartford area. However, Harris denied by New England Revolution loanee Cody Cropper.
Moments later, Dalgaard continued to threaten the Rangers goal as his stunning half-volley from distance clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over the target.
Hartford eventually found their goal in the 57th minute when Harry Swartz was played in on goal on the right side of the penalty area, and he calmly rolled the ball across the face of the six-yard box for Ryan Williams to tap into an empty net.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Danny Barrera lined up an effort from 25 yards that took a wicked deflection of Kaveh Rad and squeezed just inside the post past the despairing dive of Pulskamp to make the score 2-0.
The Rangers clawed themselves back within a goal in the 67th minute as Rassambek Akhmatov’s phenomenal tackle in the Hartford third caused a turnover, allowing Ayyoub Allach and Ze Pedro to play a one-two before Allach struck the ball into the corner from close range for his second goal in as many games for SPR.
Wan Kuzain almost brought the Rangers level in the 80th minute when a neat setup from Ze Pedro allowed the Sporting KC Homegrown player a clean look at goal from 20 yards, but his rasping strike flew inches wide of the post with Cropper rooted to the spot.
Four minutes later, it was Harris’ turn to spurn a golden opportunity to equalize as he got on the end of Alexsander’s free kick just in front of Cropper, but his header with the goal gaping landed on the roof of the net.
In the 87th minute, Sem de Wit almost put the ball into his own net as a corner kick ricocheted off his thigh and flew on target, but Cropper was there to tip it over the bar. The Rangers continued to pile on the pressure and substitute Camden Riley saw a volley zip just wide in the 90th minute following a poor Hartford clearance.
In dramatic fashion, the Rangers found their equalizer with the final kick of the game in the 97th minute. With time seemingly ticking away from SPR, Harris pounced on a short back pass from the Hartford defense and round Cropper before slotting home from a tight angle to make the final score 2-2.
Harris, 19, now has a team-leading 11 goals on the season – the most of any teenager in the league – and nine in his last 10 games.
The Rangers return home for the side’s final home game of the 2019 campaign when SPR takes on the Ottawa Fury and former coach Nikola Popovic at Children’s Mercy Park on Tuesday, Oct. 8 with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+, while tickets are available via SeatGeek.com.
2019 USL Championship
Game 31 of 34
Dillon Stadium | Hartford, CT
Weather: 52 degrees and clear
|Swope Park Rangers (6-17-8, 26 points)||0||2||2|
|Hartford Athletic (6-21-5, 23 points)||0||2||2|
Swope Park Rangers: John Pulskamp; Mark Segbers, Kaveh Rad, Rennico Clarke (C), Alexsander; Ayyoub Allach, Rassambek Akhmatov, Wan Kuzain (Camen Riley 81’); Tucker Lepley (Ethan Vanacore-Decker 84’), Wilson Harris, Ze Pedro
Subs Not Used: Gavin Krenecki, Luis Olivera, Tucker Stephenson, Jahon Rad, Tyler Freeman
Hartford Athletic: Cody Cropper; Elliot Hord, Logan Gdula, Alex Davey, Ray Lee; Harry Swartz (Nicky Downs 81’), Sem de Wit (C), Ryan Williams, Sebastian Dalgaard (Giuseppe Gentile 94+); Danny Barrera, Jose Angulo (Wojciech Wojcik 81’)
Subs Not Used: Mike Novotny, Kyle Curinga, Daniel Bedoya, Philip Rasmussen
HFD – Ryan Williams 3 (Harry Swartz 1) 57’
HFD – Danny Barrera 2 (Harry Swartz 2) 62’
SPR – Ayyoub Allach 2 (Ze Pedro 2) 67’
SPR – Wilson Harris 11 (Unassisted) 97+
SPR – Ze Pedro (Yellow Card; Time Wasting) 31’
SPR – Wilson Harris (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 33’
SPR – Tucker Lepley (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 41’
HFD – Harry Swartz (Yellow Card; Time Wasting) 45’
HFD – Ray Lee (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 47+
HFD – Logan Gdula (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 83’
HFD – Nicky Downs (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 89’
HFD – Giuseppe Gentile (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 94+
|Shots on Goal||4||5|
Referee: JJ Bilinski
Assistant Referee: Ben Pilgrim
Assistant Referee: Amilcar Sicaju
Fourth Official: Adam Rice