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Rangers Rally Past Switchbacks

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 06/21/17, 10:34PM EDT

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Doyle and Duke on target in 2-1 victory for Swope Park


Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Swope Park Rangers rallied to earn a 2-1 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Victory Field. The game began at a high tempo, but Swope Park (6-4-2, 20pts) created its first good opportunity in the 20th from a set piece as Parker Maher’s cross from the right found Amer Didic for a volley on the left side of the penalty area that was saved by Switchbacks goalkeeper Moise Pouaty. Three minutes later, though, Colorado Springs (5-5-5, 20pts) ) had the lead as Kevaughn Frater beat two defenders and set up Eddy Prugh for a low finish. Frater almost laid on another 10 minutes later, only for Shane Malcolm’s shot to be denied by SPR goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas. Swope Park continued to pressure in the second half, and Diego Rubio’s turning shot from the top of the penalty area was saved by Pouaty as it headed toward the left corner. The pressure eventually paid off in the 67th minute as Liam Doyle headed home Kevin Oliveira’s corner kick from the right. Eight minutes later, Christian Duke gave the hosts the lead as he tucked home a low finish after Kharlton Belmar’s scissor-kick finish was partially blocked by a Switchbacks defender, only to fall nicely for the SPR captain. Colorado Springs tried to find more late dramatics for an equalizer, but neither Aaron King or Prugh’s late chances seriously tested Zendejas as the Rangers closed out an important three points.

Scoring: 
23’ – COS – Eddy Prugh (Kevaughn Frater)
67’ – SPR – Liam Doyle (Kevin Oliveira)
75’ – SPR – Christian Duke

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. Wednesday night’s game could end up as a key one to both the Swope Park Rangers and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s seasons, with the game’s second-half swing toward the hosts also creating a major swing in the Western Conference standings. For the Rangers, the comeback victory meant a move into the top four at the end of the night as two good finishes by Liam Doyle and Christian Duke gave the hosts victory. For the Switchbacks, falling after going ahead left the side in the middle of the playoff positions, but also opened the door for the clubs below them to make a move as San Antonio FC visits Weidner Field this weekend.
  • 2. If there was a silver lining for the Switchbacks, it was another excellent performance by forward Kevaughn Frater, who employed his full bag of tricks to give the Rangers' defense difficulties. The strength and skill Frater displayed in created Eddy Prugh’s 23rd minute goal was the biggest highlight of the night for Colorado Springs, but Frater was dangerous regularly as he created two more scoring chances on the night. The Jamaican has been hot of late, and although he didn’t score on Wednesday night, the threat he possesses will continue to be important for the Switchbacks moving forward.
  • 3. Swope Park didn’t leave it as late as its last victory, when Mark Anthony Gonzalez struck twice in the 90th minute and stoppage time to defeat Tulsa Roughnecks FC, but as in that contest the moves Rangers Head Coach Niko Popovic made provided the boost the side needed to take victory. The introduction of forward Kharlton Belmar in particular just past the hour-mark provided added impetus and speed over the top as Swope Park looked to break down a tight Switchbacks defense. Belmar didn’t make an impact on the scoresheet, but he certainly made his presence felt.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match

Christian Duke, Swope Park Rangers – Duke scored the game-winning goal, and also had a strong game in the center of midfield as Swope Park remained calm and rallied for victory.

Upcoming Games:
Swope Park Rangers
at Tulsa Roughnecks FC – June 27, 8:30 p.m. ET, ONEOK Field
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. San Antonio FC – June 24, 9 p.m. ET, Weidner Field

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