The Swope Park Rangers (7-3-4, 25 points) handed Real Monarchs (10-3-1, 31 points) just their third loss of the season last night in a 3-2 victory at Children’s Mercy Park.
The game started out rather slow for both sides, but a foul on Amer Didic in SPR’s box in the 18th minute resulted in a penalty kick for the visitors. Chandler Hoffman stepped up to the line and blasted one past keeper Eric Dick to put his team up 1-0 early.
The Rangers took no time finding the equalizer, and it was Colton Storm, who found a loose ball in the box and put it away with ease past Real Monarch’s Connor Sparrow just 4 minutes later in the 22nd.
Both Tyler Blackwood and Hadji Barry had a few dangerous opportunities, but just couldn’t quite find the goal to give them the lead before halftime.
The Rangers and Real Monarch’s started the second half at an even playing field until the 57th minute when Matheus Silva hit an unsuspecting rocket from beyond the box that soared past Sparrow, putting SPR up 2-1.
Swope Park Rangers continued their offensive success, controlling the tempo of the game and out-possessing the visiting team. Tyler Blackwood, who had been very active up top, finally found his breakthrough goal in the 79th minute, extending the Ranger’s lead 3-1.
“I have been in a bit of a drought. I have been working my backside off every game and I am happy that the team is winning, but there is something special about scoring and winning. It is a fantastic feeling,” Blackwood said about his contribution to the team win.
The Real Monarch’s weren’t backing down yet, though. In the 83rd minute, Hoffman came up big again for his team with shot from the center of the box that caught Dick off guard and made it a one-point game with less than ten minutes remaining.
Kansas City native, Matt Lewis, who made his first professional start in the Ranger’s win over the Monarchs, applauded his team’s ability to remain composed in the final minutes.
“Obviously, we let one slip there. Looking back at it tomorrow we are probably going to be pretty disappointed, but it gives us a lot of confidence. I mean they had numbers up in the box and we bunkered down and defended hard. I think we did it pretty well tonight when we needed to.”
Despite throwing Sparrow up into the offensive attack, the Monarch’s were unable to equalize. The win was especially big for the Rangers, who not only extended their at-home unbeaten streak to 14 games, but also snapped the Monarch’s all-time unbeaten streak against them.
Swope Park Rangers head coach Paulo Nagamura had nothing but good things to say about his team’s ability to close it out. “Kudos to our defense as well for holding the last five or ten minutes there, but like I said, it was an entire team effort. I am very pleased with the performance.”