The Swope Park Rangers got off to a dream start in their first match when they scored in the opening minute versus the Colorado Rapids. The Rangers went on to defeat their MLS opponent 3-1 Wednesday night in the initial match of the Desert Diamond Cup in Arizona.
Two Rangers that are expected to find the net often this season combined to shock the Rapids right off the bat. Dane Kelly received the ball from Christian Duke and made his way up the left side. Kelly crossed into the box and Kris Tyrpak beat his man to the ball to score the opening goal.
"We were pinging it around, they found the lane down the left side and I just needed to do my job and get in the box," Tyrpak told reporters after the match. "Dane played a great pass and I was lucky to be there and put it in."
The Rapids did wake up and start to play better, leveling the game when Dominique Badji powered a header in off of a restart just over Jon Kempin from close range to tie the game at 1-1.
Being a preseason match, both teams changed up most of their line up at the half.
In the 63rd minute the Rangers took the lead back. Sporting Academy player Will Little had subbed in just four minutes earlier crossed he ball through traffic to former Sporting Academy forward Alberto Sanchez who flicked the ball past the keeper off of a back heel.
Little was not done showing what the Academy players can do. The 17 year-old midfielder put the nail in the Rapids coffin when he drove a shot from 25 yards into the top corner to make the final score 3-1.
Just nine training sessions
"We had nine training sessions until now," head coach Marc Dos Santos said after the match. "The nine sessions were very focused on organizing the team as much as we can, being concerned with the defensive shape of our team, making sure that we would stay organized in every moment of the game and it's not easy to have a team that the average age is 23 years old and then you have to bring them to play together."
"It was a great start to the game, I think they were a little shocked by it, a little stunned. We came out ready and it paid off for us at the end," defender Jacob VanCompernolle stated. "It shows the level that we wanted to play at, from the start of the game we came out ready, excited."
"For us it's an opportunity to judge ourselves against an MLS side," VanCompernolle continued. "We've been training hard, not too long but I think it shows where we are at right now and how much we can improve."
"Overall it was very positive what we did today," Dos Santos added.
SPR - Kris Tyrpak (Dane Kelly) 1'
COL - Dominique Badji (Dillon Powers) 19'
SPR - Alberto Sanchez (Will Little) 63'
SPR - Will Little (Jimmy Mulligan) 90'
SPR - Jacob VanCompernolle (Yellow Card) 18'
COL - Jared Watts (Yellow Card) 44'
Swope Park Rangers:
First Half: Jon Kempin; Johnny Grant, Oumar Ballo, Jacob VanCompernolle, Christian Duke; Jimmy Medranda, Ualefi, Alex Molano; Kris Tyrpak, Dane Kelly, Tyler Pasher.
Second Half: Zac Lubin; Jimmy Mulligan, Hakim Diaw, Amer Didic, Christian Duke (Ezra Armstrong 59'); Mouhamed Dabo, Tomas Granitto, Jimmy Medranda (Will Little 59'); Nansel Selbol, Alberto Sanchez (Mark Anthony Gonzalez 80'), Ryan James.
First Half: Zac MacMath; Marlon Hairston, Bobby Burling, Axel Sjoberg, Mekeil Williams (Marc Burch 41'); Jared Watts, Michael Azira, Dillon Powers; Dominique Badji, Luis Solignac, Kevin Doyle.
Second Half: Chris Froschauer; Dennis Castillo, Stephen Keel, AJ Cochrane, Marc Burch; Sam Cronin, Emmanuel Appiah; Dillon Serna, Conor Doyle, Zach Pfeffer; Caleb Calvert.