he Swope Park Rangers suffered defeat against USL’s best, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, after a solid defensive outing for both sides.
Paulo Nagamura set out a side with two Sporting KC loanees: Adrian Zendejas starting and Tyler Freman on the bench. Also an all Sporting KC Academy center back pairing of Mo Abdulnadi and Kaveh Rad.
In the opening 45 minutes, Swope Park Rangers had very little possession but it remained scoreless thanks to a couple really good saves from Zendejas and a couple timely tackles defensively. Both teams hit the post and Wilson Harris also had two chances, one which he should have scored but his first touch brutally let him down, and the other was a shot right outside of the 18 that flashed inches wide. But 45 minutes without conceding to the best team in the league is something that the manager has to be happy with.
Mark Segbers took down Leo Fernandes in the box to rightfully award the Rowdies a penalty that Fernandes converted in the 82nd minute, firing his shot low to the right of Zendejas, who guessed right but was unable to get a strong enough push off to reach it. SPR weren’t able to pull it back as the full time whistle blew at 1-0 to the home side. It’s a challenge that a fatigued Segbers probably doesn’t make if it wasn’t his third game in the last week.
The back four of Alexander, Mo Abdulnadi, Kaveh Rad, and Mark Segbers put in a very good 90 minutes aside from the one lapse of concentration from Segbers. Camden Riley and Rassambek Akhmatov also did well in the midfield. Altogether, it was a very good defensive effort from the entire squad, but one mistake costed them what would have been the biggest point of the season.
The Rangers remain in 17th place in the East with seven points from eleven matches and just a point behind Charlotte Independence and two points behind their next opponent, Loudoun United.
Tampa Bay remains four points clear at the top of the table, taking 26 points from 12 games. John McCarthy and the Rowdies picked up their eighth clean sheet this season.
After a well deserved week off, the Swope Park Rangers will return home to Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday, June 5, for a match against Loudoun United.