It was a party on Friday night at The Zoo. The Swope Park Rangers were playing with class and picked up an emphatic 3-1 win over Whitecaps FC 2. Each goal was beautiful and the only blemish was as a result of a terrible mistake from the center referee.
The Rangers wasted no time and were on the board within eight minutes. Kevin Oliveira won the ball at midfield and charged forward. He split the defense, sending an absolutely perfectly weighted ball for an onrushing Nansel Selbol. Without actually taking a real touch he dipped his shoulder one way, feinted the another, and beat two defenders plus the keeper in the process. Then he finally smashed it into the side netting for the 1-0 lead.
Twenty minutes later the home side would double the lead with beautiful team effort. Selbol got it started when he pushed the ball down the right flank for Colten Storm. The right-back only needed one touch to cross it right to the foot of Lebo Moloto for an easy finish.
It was starting to look like a training session for The Rangers and in the 38 minute they would get a third goal. Moloto received the ball just outside the box and sent a cheeky blind pass at an angle for Kharlton Belmar. Belmar took a touch before blasting it home from point blank range. SPR was making it look easy.
The second half evened out a bit as The Rangers took their foot off the pedal. Neither team was able to pose too big of a threat after the break. But the referee, who was having a terrible match, awarded a ridiculous penalty to Vancouver in the 85’ minute. And I mean ridiculous. Amer Didic did nothing more than jump for a header, but the referee wanted to be part of the match. Ben McKendry converted the penalty and made it 3-1. It was the first shot on goal for the visitors.
Despite a frantic few minutes, the final whistle blew and the three points were secure. The win puts Swope at 3rd place in the USL’s Western Conference with a 4-2-0 record. Next up the Rangers travel to face Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday, May 13th.