Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Swope Park Rangers scored three times in the final 15 minutes to defeat a 10-man LA Galaxy II 3-0 in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs on Friday night at Children’s Mercy Victory Field. After a physical opening, the Galaxy II’s Jaime Villarreal almost opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a shot with the outside of his right boot that flashed just wide of the left post. Ariel Lassiter forced a big save from SPR goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas for Los Dos moments later, and had a shot deflected wide by Oumar Ballo after a Swope Park turnover. Lassiter again forced a save from Zendejas with a shot from 25 yards four minutes before the break, while SPR’s Kris Tyrpak had a shot blocked. Swope Park went close early in the second half as Tyler Pasher’s cross just eluded Dane Kelly at the top of the six-yard area. The Galaxy II were reduced to 10 men when Jose Villarreal received his second yellow card in the 65th minute, and the Rangers almost grabbed the lead moments later when Kelly’s shot from 20 yards was turned wide by Galaxy II goalkeeper Clement Diop. With 14 minutes to go, however, the Rangers struck as Pasher took a second chance to cross from the left that found Tyrpak at the back post for a free header into the left corner of the net. Pasher passed up a chance to double the lead with less than 10 minutes to go as he looked to find Kelly instead of shooting, but the Rangers put the game away through Mark Anthony Gonzalez, who scored twice in stoppage time as the Galaxy II chased the game.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Swope Park Rangers didn’t find many openings in the opening half of the first playoff game in the club’s history. As the game entered the second half, however, space began to open up, and while the eventual winning goal by Kris Tyrpak – his first in the USL Cup Playoffs – arrived with the hosts up a man, it was a deserved reward for an enterprising performance by the side that saw Tyler Pasher and Dane Kelly also play very brightly in the attacking third.
2. The game saw more players needing treatment for chippy fouls than shots early on in the contest, but it appeared to have calmed down by the time the Galaxy II’s Jose Villarreal received his second yellow card of the game with 25 minutes to go. One of the more experienced players in the Galaxy II squad, Villarreal twice made the wrong move going for a contested ball in the air, and left his side under pressure on the road.
3. The Rangers have now taken victory in five consecutive games, thanks in part to the strong defensive partnership that has developed between center backs Oumar Ballo and Amer Didic. There were some shaky moments for Swope Park, particularly as the side gave the Galaxy II opportunities through turnovers in the first half, but Didic and Ballo both made decisive challenges to deny the threat of Ariel Lassiter to keep the game scoreless, and help the side claim victory.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Kris Tyrpak, Swope Park Rangers – Tyrpak scored the first postseason goal in the Rangers' history to lead his side to its first postseason victory.
Swope Park Rangers – Western Conference Semifinals vs. No. 1 Sacramento Republic FC or No. 8 Orange County Blues FC, TBD
LA Galaxy II – End of Season
76’ – SPR – Kris Tyrpak (Tyler Pasher)
90+’ – SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Emmanuel Appiah)
90+' – SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Ualefi)
SPR: 95-Adrian Zendejas; 24-Ever Alvado, 81-Oumar Ballo, 55-Amer Didic, 26-Tommy Meyer; 32-Christian Duke, 35-Ualefi, 45-Ayrton (47-Mark Anthony Gonzalez, 74’); 77-Tyler Pasher, 99-Dane Kelly (90-Johnny Grant, 90+’), 50-Kris Tyrpak (23-Emmanuel Appiah, 87’)
LA: 31-Clement Diop; 29-Josh Turnley, 69-Jefrey Payeras, 53-Bradley Diallo, 47-Nathan Smith; 5-Jose Villarreal, 57-Alejandro Covarrubias (47-Ethan Zubak, 87’), 65-Jaime Villarreal, 68-Denzel Slager (58-Bryam Rebellon, 85’); 15-Ariel Lassiter, 73-Adonis Amaya (38-Bradford Jamieson IV, 66’)
Venue: Children’s Mercy Victory Field