Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Swope Park Rangers held on for a thrilling 3-2 victory against Real Monarchs SLC on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park to claim their second victory in a row. The Monarchs got onto the front foot as Maikel Chang had a long-range effort saved by Rangers goalkeeper Eric Dick in the 12th minute, but seven minutes later the visitors took the lead from the penalty spot after Jose Hernandez was brought down in the area to allow Chandler Hoffman to shoot home to the bottom-right corner. The hosts responded quickly, however, as Colton Storm fired home after Hadji Barry had initially had a chance in the right side of the penalty area in the 22nd minute. The hosts then almost took the lead as a weaving run and finish by Tyler Blackwood came back off the left post, and Barry forced a near-post save by Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow in the 41st minute as the game went to the break level, but the Rangers hit the front in the 57th minute as Matheus Silva produced a low blast that picked out the right corner from 25 yards. Real almost hit back just past the hour-mark as Hoffman’s low shot after a clever build-up by the visitors was well saved by Dick, and Blackwood again went close as he opened a chance on a counterattack that was kept out by Sparrow. The Rangers added to their lead with 11 minutes to go as Blackwood put home a finish after a lax clearance by Sparrow, but the Monarchs pulled back within a goal as Hoffman notched his second of the game from a low cross by Chang in the 84th minute. The Monarchs almost grabbed a late equalizer as a shot by James Moberg was blocked behind for a corner, but the Rangers held on to claim a big three points.
19’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (penalty kick)
22’ – SPR – Colton Storm
57’ – SPR – Matheus Silva
79’ – SPR – Tyler Blackwood
84’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (Maikel Chang)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Swope Park hadn’t recorded a shot by the time the Monarchs opened the scoring via Chandler Hoffman’s penalty kick in the 19th minute, but the goal seemed to spark the hosts into life as they proceeded to outshoot Real 16-10 for the remainder of the game to take a second consecutive victory and further burnish their playoff credentials.
2. The arrival of Tyler Blackwood with the Rangers hasn’t been seamless, but on Wednesday night the English forward had arguably his best game for his new club has he not only scored what ended up being the winning goal, but also consistently threatened the Monarchs’ goal. When his first-half chance after a great run into the penalty area hit the post, and another in the second half was snuffed out by Sparrow, it didn’t look like he was going to get his reward for a very positive display, but he made no mistake with the gift that was handed to him to notch what ended up the decisive goal.
3. The Monarchs opened their trip to the Midwest with just their third loss of the season as they failed to capitalize on their early momentum and early lead. The Western Conference-leaders showed admirable fight throughout the game, and almost did enough to steal a point at the end after Chandler Hoffman’s second goal of the night, but now another tough test in Saint Louis awaits and Real will need to rebound well.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Tyler Blackwood, Swope Park Rangers – Blackwood recorded four shots on target out of his seven shots overall and won the majority of his duels on the night in a strong victory for the Rangers.
Swope Park Rangers at Fresno FC – June 17, 9 p.m. ET, Chukchansi Park
Real Monarchs SLC at Saint Louis FC – June 16, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis