Photo courtesy Nick Tre Smith / Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A dominant performance from the Swope Park Rangers gave the defending Western Conference champion a 1-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday night. After controlling almost all the ball in the opening minutes, some short and sharp passing opened things up for the opening goal for the Rangers in the seventh minute. After receiving the ball young midfielder Gianluca Busio turned and found forward Tyler Blackwood in space wide allowing him to slam it home across the face of goal, giving Busio an assist in his first professional game. The Rangers refused to let off the gas, keeping almost all of the possession in the first half as the hosts maintained possession to try and find more openings. Late in the first half Colorado Springs came into the match as the Rangers defense started to open up but Swope Park goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas was at his best to keep the Rangers in front at halftime. It should have been two for Swope Park in the 53rd minute as Rangers forward Diego Rubio rounded the goalkeeper and squared for fellow forward Hadji Barry with the goal at his mercy, but Barry could only find the post, allowing the Switchbacks to clear. Colorado Springs looked more dangerous in the closing stages of the match, but the Rangers always seemed to have a measure of control on the match, taking the three points comfortably.
7’ – SPR – Tyler Blackwood (Gianluca Busio)
Three Things That Matter:
1. With no goal in this match the Switchbacks goal drought reached 305 minutes, the last being a penalty in the 55th minute of the season opener, four matches ago. The struggles are bigger on the road, having not scored away from home this season making the Switchbacks happy to get home for their match against Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday.
2. Swope Park continued to be a difficult city for away teams to visit, with the Rangers extending their home dominance on Wednesday night. Victory in this match made it 11 matches without a loss at home for the Rangers, who will be hoping to take that momentum on the road against San Antonio FC on Saturday.
3. Coming into the match with the second-highest passing accuracy in the league, the Rangers did not disappoint, managing a passing accuracy of 89 percent. That allowed the Rangers to control possession throughout the match, which has been the foundation of the early successes the Rangers have had this season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Gianluca Busio, Swope Park Rangers – At just 15 years old Busio had a big impact on his first professional game, laying off the assist for the goal which would turn out to be the game-winner. Busio was nearly flawless throughout the match managing a 94 percent passing accuracy rate, winning all three duels.
Swope Park Rangers vs. San Antonio FC – April 7, 8:30p.m. ET, Toyota Field
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC – April 7, 8p.m. ET, Weidner Field