The Swope Park Rangers soundly defeated Seattle Saturday night to clinch fourth spot in the Western Conference and a home playoff game. Amer Didic and Tyler Pasher both scored and Adrian Zendejas notched another shutout to give the Rangers the 2-0 victory.
Again the Rangers came out pressing their opponent and after a few chances did not find the back of the net, rookie Amer Didic connected on Aryton’s corner kick for his first professional goal in the 11th minute.
“In my opinion, it’s 30 games too late but it’s always nice getting a goal in the game,” Didic commented after the game. “It helped put us in fourth place and get that home game next week. There have been many games where I have been in the box, on corners and set pieces and haven’t been able to put it in the back of the net but today, I finally did it. It’s some pressure off my shoulders.”
“He deserves it, for sure he deserves it,” Rangers head coach Mark Dos Santos noted. “The way he celebrated was like, ‘finally’. He created so many opportunities in other games and corner kicks and attacking some set plays. There’s a goal that was disallowed, I don’t remember against who, but a home game that he scored and when we watched the video again he wasn’t offside and the ref called it offside. The kid deserved it, so we’re happy for him and for him to finally get a goal in his rookie year; it’s special for him for sure.”
With the lead the Rangers did not let up but were unable to break through again in the first half. A red card in the 41st minute gave the home side a man advantage. Seattle’s Nouhou Tolo received a straight red for his foul on Kris Tyrpak. Ualefi’s pass sprung Tyrpak in on goal when Tolo knocked him down from behind.
The Rangers had a few opportunities in the second and were finally able to double the lead in the 75th minute. Dane Kelly refused to give up on a ball in the box and fought the defense to get control. Kelly then slid a pass through the six-yard box where Tyler Pasher’s slashing run connected to tap it past the keeper.
“It was a game that we managed the 90 minutes knowing of the tiredness,” Dos Santos noted. “You know there’s a lot of accumulation – guys were a little bit tired – so the only way we would win this game was digging very deep and making sure we would go and get a lot of energy. We scored the first goal and that allowed us to manage a little bit more of the game and of course the red card then allowed us even more just to manage the 90 minutes without pushing too much. Then we started to take out guys we felt have more minutes accumulated, but to win a game in the way we did and being able to manage the game, that’s important.”
The Swope Park Rangers will host LA Galaxy II at Swope Soccer Village in a Western Conference Quarterfinal on Friday, Sept. 30.