Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The No. 4-seed Swope Park Rangers will play host to the No. 6-seed Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Saturday night in the Western Conference Final of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs at Children’s Mercy Victory Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT.
Swope Park Rangers news and notes
2016 USL Cup Playoffs So Far
Western Conference Quarterfinals: W 3-0 vs. LA Galaxy II
Western Conference Semifinals: W 2-1 vs. Orange County Blues FC
The Rangers recorded a dramatic 2-1 victory in overtime to advance past Orange County Blues FC as Dane Kelly’s goal in the 105th minute lifted the nine-man hosts past the No. 8 seed.
Swope Park had been reduced to nine men in regulation after red cards for Ever Alvarado and Tommy Meyer. Alvarado was handed a one-game suspension on Monday, and Meyer a six-game suspension after he made contact with an assistant referee.
Rangers forward Mark Anthony Gonzalez is tied for the postseason lead in goals after he notched his third of the playoffs against Orange County. Gonzalez is tied with Rochester’s Steevan Dos Santos and the New York Red Bulls II’s Brandon Allen.
Goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas remained perfect in goal since joining the Rangers in June as he back-stopped the win against Orange County. Swope Park is 7-0-0 with Zendejas in goal, as the goalkeeper sports a 0.41 goals-against average, and .857 save percentage.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 news and notes
2016 USL Cup Playoffs So Far
Western Conference Quarterfinals: W 2-1 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Western Conference Semifinals: W 3-2 vs. OKC Energy FC
WFC2 grabbed a dramatic victory to advance to the Western Conference Final as Daniel Haber’s 89th-minute goal led the side to a 3-2 victory against OKC Energy FC on Saturday afternoon at Thunderbird Stadium.
Haber is now in sole possession of second place in goals this season for WFC2. Haber has recorded eight goals in the regular season and playoffs, and also leads the side with four assists on the year.
Forward Kyle Greig and midfielder Kianz Froese have both scored a pair of goals so far in the postseason, recording a goal in each of the team’s two victories so far. Kreig leads the team overall with 13 goals in the regular season and playoffs.
WFC2 could see Marco Bustos return to the squad for this Saturday’s game. No. 9 on the USL 20 Under 20 this summer, Bustos came on as a substitute in Canada’s 4-0 victory against Mauritania on Friday on international duty, and scored seven goals for Vancouver in the regular season.
Swope Park Rangers – D Amer Didic: The center back was named Swope Park’s Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday night, and was one of the most consistent members of the team in the USL regular season. The partnership between he and Oumar Ballo has been key to the Rangers’ run of eight wins in their last nine outings, and they will need to be at their best again facing an attack that has five goals in two postseason contests already.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – D Brett Levis: WFC2’s standout fullback has had a solid postseason so far, and will need another good performance going up against a potential match-up with Kris Tyrpak down the right wing for the Rangers. Both Levis and Tyrpak have been in this situation against one another before in the 2013 PDL Championship Semifinals when they suited up for the Austin Aztex and Victoria Highlanders FC, and whoever comes out on top here could lead his side to victory.
2016 Team leaders
Goals: Swope Park – Mark Anthony Gonzalez, 12; Vancouver – Kyle Greig, 13
Assists: Swope Park – Ayrton, 7; Vancouver – Daniel Haber, 4
Vancouver took a pair of victories against SPR in the regular season, first winning 2-1 on goals by Kyle Greig and Ben McKendry and Children’s Mercy Victory Field on April 27, and then earning a 3-2 win at Thunderbird Stadium when Marco Bustos scored twice and Alphonso Davies once on June 12.
REF: Juan Guzman Jr
AR1: Ryan Cook
AR2: Jack Feldman
4TH: Jon Freemon
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