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Swope Park unable to hold lead against Orange County

An early goal was not enough for SPR

Thad Bell

The Swope Park Rangers dominated the stats but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Orange County SC Saturday. It was Swope Parks second straight draw, leaving them at 12-5-4 and in 3rd place in the Western Conference.

The Rangers were missing James Musa who had recently signed with Sporting Kansas City. Musa went the full ninety for SKC in Seattle. Sporting KC defender Amer Didic, a regular on the Swope Park back line was also missing as he traveled with SKC but was not in the 18.

Missing two regulars did not seem to affect the Rangers. They came out strong and took he early lead in the 4th minute when captain Christian Duke chipped a ball through the Orange County defense and Kharlton Belmar ran onto it and one-timed it through the OC keeper Charlie Lyon’s legs.

“The goal was straight from training,” Belmar told The Blue Testament. “We worked all week on forwards making that run in behind. We timed it perfectly and it was a good ball from Duke. I took my chance and was able to put it away first time.”

The Rangers wanted to get off to a fast start and control the game from there and with one exception managed that well. “We look to come out of the gates hot and pounce to get that goal quick and then play from there,” Belmar explained. “We saw that tonight. We got the goal and completely dominated the game afterward. We were just unlucky to give up a goal there.”

Orange County struggled to generate much offense against Swope Park but did get a lucky bounce when a Rangers defender misplayed the ball and Zach Kobayashi quickly found the equalizer. Both the Rangers and Orange County worked to score a go ahead goal but neither could crack the defense successfully for the rest of the match.

“I think we played well,” SPR manager Nikola Popovic said after the match. “You look at the stats, 13 shots to three. In the second half, we had 67 percent of the ball. We had a good game. We created enough to get out of here with three points.”

With the draw, the Rangers remain in third place in the Western Conference but did gain a point on San Antonio.

Swope Park Rangers vs. Orange County SC

August 12, 2017 - Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Mo.)

Swope Park Rangers 1-1 Orange County SC

Scoring Summary:

SPR - Kharlton Belmar 7 (Christian Duke 2) 4'

OC - Zach Kobayashi 2 (unassisted) 51'

Misconduct Summary:

SPR - Lebo Moloto (caution; reckless foul) 36'

OC - Richard Chaplow (caution; reckless foul) 71'

OC - Zach Kobayashi (caution; reckless foul) 86'

Swope Park Rangers: Adrian Zendejas; Tyler Pasher, Liam Doyle, Oumar Ballo, Parker Maher (Colton Storm 58); Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, Christian Duke ©, Lebo Moloto; Kharlton Belmar, Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Cameron Iwasa 79), Nansel Selbol (Felipe Hernandez 57)

Substitutes Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Dakota Barnathan, Max Rugova, Robert Mirosavic

STATS: Shots 13, Shots on Goal 2, Corners 6, Fouls 9, Possession 64.4%

Orange County SC: Charlie Lyon; Frank Olijve, Oscar Sorto, Joe Franco; Roy Meeus, Amirgy Pineda, Richard Chaplow © (Gustavo Villalobos 73), Zach Kobayashi; James Baxendale (Jerry van Ewijk 62), Wuilito Fernandes, MondayEtim (Dusan Stevanovic 81)

Substitutes Not Used: Casey Beyers, Jeannot Esua, Kevin Jeon

STATS: Shots 3, Shots on Goal 2, Corners 1, Fouls 7, Possession 35.6%