Photo courtesy Nick Tre Smith / Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Swope Park Rangers continued their defense of the Western Conference championship with a 1-0 win against Sacramento Republic FC at Children’s Mercy Victory Field on Saturday. Mark Anthony Gonzalez, who took part in the Canada Under-23 National Team camp in Qatar during March, scored the game-winner in the 70th minute. The Rangers controlled the match from beginning to end, holding 59.1 percent of the possession while also thwarting many of Republic FC’s opportunities in the final third. With the result, Swope Park remains perfect on the year with a 3-0-0 record, while Republic FC moves to 3-2-0.
70’ – SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Rangers are impressive at home. Swope Park claimed its eighth consecutive home win on Saturday, and the club played well on both sides of the ball to earn the result against Republic FC. Swope Park held 59.1 percent of possession, completed 556 passes – 196 more than Sacramento – and made 29 clearances.
2. Center backs Amer Didic and Erik Palmer-Brown were strong for Swope Park throughout the match. The pair of defenders were nearly perfect distributing from the back, as Didic completed 93.4 percent of his passes and Palmer-Brown completed 92.6 percent of his. They limited Republic FC’s attackers to just two shots on target en route to helping the club record its second consecutive shutout of the season.
3. A tough road schedule is starting to show its impact on Republic FC. Sacramento plays six of its first eight games this season on the road, and while the club has posted an impressive 3-2-0 record thus far, the schedule ahead is not any easier. Republic FC will head home for a matchup with Portland Timbers 2 on April 22 before beginning another three-game road journey.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Mark Anthony Gonzalez, Swope Park Rangers – Gonzalez netted his first goal of the 2017 USL season after leading the Rangers in goals scored in 2016.
Swope Park Rangers at Phoenix Rising FC – April 23, 10 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Portland Timbers 2 – April 22, 10:30 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park