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Opportunistic Tally Sends Rangers Past Phoenix

By CHRIS HOCKMAN -, 05/26/18, 7:00PM EDT


Barry’s early goal holds up as Swope Park closes gap on top four in Western Conference

Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A goal four minutes into the match proved enough for the Swope Park Rangers as they managed a 1-0 win against Phoenix Rising FC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday afternoon. The goal came thanks to a goalkeeping mistake from Phoenix goalkeeper Zac Lubin, who allowed Swope Park forward Hadji Barry to gather the ball, cut inside and then simply pass the ball into the back of the net. With a strong Rangers defense proving hard to break down, even in the early stages, set pieces presented the best chances for Phoenix to get level but Rising FC's players just couldn’t hit the target with those chances. With time running out in the first half Phoenix forward Chris Cortez sent a ball through for his strike partner Kevaughn Frater, who went clean through on Adrian Zendejas in the Swope goal but could only fire his shot right at the goalkeeper. The Rangers came out from the break determined to double their lead and Barry almost got in behind the defense only for Lubin to come off his line well and snuff out the chance. Zendejas had to be at his best in the 58th minute as a ball to the far post for Phoenix midfielder Jason Johnson forced the Swope Park goalkeeper to make a save at full stretch that he quickly smothered. The offside flag was the biggest barrier for the visitors as the Rangers regularly stepped up well, catching attacking players offside with Cortez the most common offender. Despite holding a one-goal lead late in the match the hosts continued to press looking for another goal that would have sealed the match, but as the clock hit stoppage time the woodwork starred to keep the Rangers out as forward Tyler Blackwood ran through on Lubin who got just enough on the ball to push it onto the post. The rebound fell to Rangers midfielder Rodrigo Saravia, whose effort was well saved before Chase Minter put too much power on his shot effort for the hosts to hit the crossbar, but the late misses proved academic as Swope Park took its first victory since May 5.

4’ – SPR – Hadji Barry

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. Until this match Phoenix had never lost in regulation to the Rangers, having only lost in the USL Cup Playoffs on penalties following a draw between the clubs a season ago. But the Rangers finally broke through for their first win over Phoenix, leveling the all-time series between the clubs at 1-1-5.

  • 2. With a team undefeated at home up against a team undefeated on the road this match was always going to be difficult for both teams. In the end it was the undefeated home record of the Rangers that remained intact, a reward for having more accurate shooting as the hosts put 42.9 percent of their shots on target. That continued a season-long trend for the side, which sits sixth in the league in shooting accuracy this season.

  • 3. The key for the Rangers all season has been their passing and linking play in midfield, continuing the club's hold on being the the most accurate passing side in the USL coming into this match with an 82 percent success rate. That continued against Rising FC as they managed an even stronger 84.4 percent passing accuracy, which allowed the hosts to dominate possession, something Saint Louis will have to find a way to stop next week. Man of the Match:

Amer Didic, Swope Park Rangers – Didic had a complete match, often being the key man to change defense into attack for the Rangers. Managing to win seven duels, and finish the match with a passing accuracy of 93 percent the defender was seemingly all over the pitch at Children’s Mercy Park.

Upcoming Games:
Swope Park Rangers
vs. Saint Louis FC – June 2, 8:30p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium
Phoenix Rising FC vs. Saint Louis FC — May 30, 8:30p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium

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