The winning streak continues as the Swope Park Rangers defeated the Portland Timbers 2 in a 1-0 victory.
In an action-packed first half, the Rangers held good possession and created several chances. Kharlton Belmar scored the lone goal of night during the 14th minute with a cross from Nansel Selbol, opening the score sheet for the Rangers earning them the 1-0 lead.
Portland would have a chance at a equalizer in the 32nd minute when the Timbers earned a free kick. However, Timbers’ Tomas Granitto’s - a former Rangers player - shot was denied by Zendejas. Portland scrambled to try to put home the failed shot but could not succeed against the Rangers strong defense.
The Rangers started the second half strong by keeping the pressure on the visitors. To start the second half Erik Palmer-Brown was removed and replaced by Dakota Baranthan who started the previous game. EPB had been working back from injury and likely wasn’t 90-minutes fit and appeared to take a knock in the first half.
The second substitution of the night came in the 60th minute, when Overland Park native, Max Rugova made his official debut after he replaced Lebo Moloto. The 17-year-old is on an academy contract for the Rangers. Rugova has appeared on the SKC Academy's’ U-16 and U-18 teams as well.
Throughout the second half, the Rangers looked to add another goal to the scoreboard, while the Timbers tried to open the score sheet for their side. An amazing opportunity came in the 69th minute when Christian Duke sent a shot to Academy player Felipe Hernandez in the box. Hernandez’s close-range attempt was blocked by Kendall McIntosh. This attempt came shortly after Hernandez knocked out Portland’s attempt with a header within the Rangers’ box.
Timbers made another daring attempt when Blake Bodily ran the ball clear down to the Rangers side challenging Colton Storm and Parker Maher in a 1v1 each, ultimately the ball flew over the bar.
Ultimately, while conceding a lot of second half possession, the Rangers were able to hold onto their 1-0 lead and open their season with two straight wins and all six points.
Rangers look to extend their winning streak when they face Sacramento Republic FC on April 15th.