It was an excellent performance from the Rangers of Swope Park this evening as they defeated a very tough Sacramento Republic FC side. Mark Anthony Gonzalez got the winner in the 2nd half and the defense did the rest in the 1-0 shut-out.
The first half was rather quiet. It wasn’t until 20 minutes into the match when things started to warm up. Wilson Kneeshaw was able to sneak in behind the SPR defense and gather in a perfectly timed ball into the box. He turned and fired but Dykstra made himself big and came up with the save.
That would be the closest the visitors would come to scoring the first half. The Rangers woke up and had a barrage of shots over the next few minutes. In the 30’ minute Pasher sent in a cross and both Iwasa and Gonzalez took shots on goal, but the ball simply would not cross the line.
The home side dominated possession and created far more chances, but they went into the locker room at halftime level at 0-0.
SPR head coach Nikola Popovic made positive changes early in the second half as he looked to set up the go ahead goal. Kevin Oliveira and Kharlton Belmar were brought on to boost the attack and in the 70’ minute the breakthrough would finally come.
Belmar cleverly touch the ball around his man and used his brilliant pace to get to the ball first. He sent a powerful ball across the face of the goal that the SRFC keeper Jakubek was unable to parry away. He was got his hands on the ball, but it softly floated right to the head of Gonzalez. The Rangers’ striker nodded the ball home for the 1-0 lead.
The SPR defense, led by Erik Palmer-Brown and Amer Didic, were fantastic on the evening. The goal advantage would prove enough as the Sacramento failed to create any real scoring chances.
This was a big win for the Rangers against one of the best teams in USL and they are now perfect through three matches. The winning streak at The Zoo has reached eight matches in a row going back to last year.
Next Sunday SPR will travel to Arizona to face Phoenix Rising FC at 9pm.