Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Swope Park Rangers notched a 4-2 victory against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Saturday night in its inaugural contest at Shawnee Mission South District Stadium on Saturday night. Seattle took the lead in the 19th minute when a clever flick through midfield by Rodrigue Ele set by David Estrada for a breakaway finish, but two minutes later the Rangers leveled as Kharlton Belmar scored his third goal of the young season as his low shot from the left side of the penalty area found its way into the right corner. Swope Park gained the lead in the 35th minute as Rodrigo Saravia sent a looping header into the right corner from a corner kick, and then added to its advantage seven minutes into the second half as Colton Storm fired home a low finish. Estrada struck again for Seattle in the 56th minute to cut the deficit to one, but Belmar’s second of the night five minutes later was enough to wrap up a second consecutive victory for the Rangers.
19’ – SEA – David Estrada
21’ – SPR – Kharlton Belmar (Hadji Barry)
35’ – SPR – Rodrigo Saravia (Felipe Hernandez)
52’ – SPR – Colton Storm (Rodrigo Saravia)
56’ – SEA – David Estrada (Handwalla Bwana)
61’ – SPR – Kharlton Belmar (Colton Storm)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Rangers’ efficiency in capitalizing on their chances was key in the defending Western Conference champions’ second consecutive victory of the season as it put away four goals on six shots on target for the contest in a second consecutive display of attacking proficiency. Swope Park now has eight goals in its opening two games of the regular season and is looking just as strong as it did in earning a second consecutive trip to the USL Cup a season ago.
2. At the forefront again for the Rangers attack was Kharlton Belmar, whose 31st and 32nd goals of his USL career again illustrated why he’s among the top finishers in the league currently, and in its history. The 2015 USL Rookie of the Year was smooth all-around in his performance on Saturday, winning possession, creating chances and scoring on both of his shots on the night as he continues to knock on the door for MLS minutes.
3. Seattle suffered a slight letdown after its opening-weekend victory, but there were still signs that this side will be a competitor for the USL Cup Playoffs down the line. Leading the way in that on Saturday was David Estrada, whose brace showed off the talents S2’s leadership hoped he would bring to the young side. With a return home to Cheney Stadium in midweek, there’s a quick opportunity to get back on the bike for Seattle and get back on a winning track.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kharlton Belmar, Swope Park Rangers – Another two-goal performance by the Rangers’ ace attacker was the highlight of another stellar attacking display.
Swope Park Rangers at Las Vegas Lights FC – March 31, 11 p.m. ET, Cashman Field
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Fresno FC – March 28, 10 p.m. ET, Cheney Stadium