Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Second-half substitute Mark Anthony Gonzalez scored twice in stoppage time as the Swope Park Rangers earned a 3-1 victory against Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Sunday evening at Children’s Mercy Victory Field. The Rangers had some early chances, including a turning shot by Robert Mirosavic that Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda saved well, but the Roughnecks came close to opening the scoring in the 24th minute as an angled central cross toward the left side of the area by Juan Pablo Caffa was headed across goal by Joey Calistri, but tipped over the crossbar by SPR goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas. The Roughnecks threatened again four minutes before the break as a well-worked move created a chance for Joaquin Rivas on the right side of the penalty area, but Zendejas got down to save. Ian Svantesson also forced a good save in first-half stoppage time for the Roughnecks, but it was the Rangers that took the lead 11 minutes into the second half when Cameron Iwasa fired a shot from 20 yards into the top-left corner of the net. Swope Park almost doubled its lead in the 71st minute when Gonzalez beat the offside trap, but was denied by Cerda one-on-one, while the Roughnecks’ Calistri had a shot blocked from close range moments later as the visitors almost equalized. Calistri played a role as the Roughnecks pulled level with 15 minutes to go as his low cross from the right was turned into his own net by Ballo. The Rangers were awarded a penalty kick in the final minute when Kharlton Belmar was brought down just inside the right side of the penalty area, however, and Gonzalez converted low to the left corner. The Canadian forward then added his second of the game in stoppage time as Lebo Moloto’s pass put him in behind the Roughnecks defense again, and his finish wrapped up a dramatic late win.
56’ – SPR – Cameron Iwasa (Parker Maher)
75’ – TUL – Own Goal (Oumar Ballo)
90+’ – SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez (penalty)
90+’ – SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Lebo Moloto)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Tulsa Roughnecks FC appeared to have managed its visit to the Swope Park Rangers well enough to earn a valuable road point, but a late lapse of concentration defensively saw the visitors find out how turning off for a moment can be costly against a side like the Rangers. Jorge Luis Corrales, it can be argued, didn’t necessarily need to make a challenge on Kharlton Belmar as the game was about to tick into stoppage time, but his trip inside the penalty area spoiled a performance that had seen the Roughnecks put in an admirable road display. Instead, the side will prepare for a tough week ahead against FC Dallas in the Lamar U.S. Open Cup and San Antonio FC in the league on a down note.
2. The Roughnecks reached this point of the season in the Western Conference’s top eight thanks to making the most of the opportunities presented it. In Sunday’s game against the Swope Park Rangers, that included Joey Calistri’s quickness of mind that ended up resulting an equalizer that earned a very valuable point on the road. Calistri was felled in the penalty area by Swope Park’s Liam Doyle, but instead of waiting to see if a penalty kick would be awarded, Calistri quickly got back to his feet, drove past Doyle toward the goal line and sent a tricky low cross that saw Oumar Ballo turn the ball into his own net. Tulsa has been making it happen for itself regularly this season, and Calistri’s play here was another good illustration of how.
3. Having fallen in its last home outing, which snapped a nine-game winning streak at Children’s Mercy Victory Field, the Rangers will be very pleased to take three points from a game that appeared to be on its way to extending the club’s winless streak to four games. Thanks to Mark Anthony Gonzalez’s late pair of goals, instead Swope Park will be hoping the game marks the start of another long run of success on home turf. Gonzalez’s return to the lineup could in integral to that, with the side’s leading scorer last season having seen limited action due to injury this year. Two goals in a matter of minutes on his return will be a big boost of confidence.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Mark Anthony Gonzalez, Swope Park Rangers – Gonzalez’s late brace lifted the Rangers to what could prove a very important victory as the race for the playoffs continues.
Swope Park Rangers vs. Phoenix Rising FC – June 18, 5 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field
Tulsa Roughnecks FC at San Antonio FC – June 17, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field