Photo courtesy Nick Tre Smith / Swope Park Rangers
1. The Swope Park Rangers solidified their place in the Western Conference playoff positions as they eked out a 1-0 victory against Fresno FC at Children’s Mercy Park that the hosts had to fight hard to earn. Hadji Barry’s early goal got the Rangers ahead, and from there the defense did enough to see out the victory as goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas made a tremendous stop on Danny Barrera to highlight a four-save shutout and the defense overall made 23 clearances and blocked three shots to keep the Foxes from finding a way to take something from the game.
2. Hadji Barry’s hot streak in front of goal has coincided with Swope Park’s surge in form that carried the side to sixth place at the end of the weekend’s action, but more importantly holding a four-point cushion over both Reno 1688 FC and Saint Louis FC in the eighth and ninth positions respectively. Barry has scored in five consecutive games, with Sunday’s another game-winner, as the defending Western Conference champions have regained their balance after a tough middle section of the season.
3. The Portland Timbers 2 also took another positive step toward the postseason with a 4-0 victory against Tulsa Roughnecks FC that kept the side within a point of the top four in the West. T2’s victory was comprehensive, with Marvin Loria recording a goal and assist and efforts by Bill Tuiloma to open the scoring and Jack Barmby just before halftime effectively putting the game away for the hosts. Portland has a tricky three-game road trip ahead, but if it can successfully navigate its trip to Las Vegas and Fresno, it could have a chance to overtake current fourth-place side Sacramento Republic FC when the sides square off on Sept. 29.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Swope Park Rangers got an early goal and then held firm defensively in a 1-0 victory against Fresno FC at Children’s Mercy Park. The Rangers took the lead in the 14th minute as Hadji Barry scored for a fifth successive contest as he held onto possession after getting past two defenders to enter the left side of the penalty area, and Barry finished it off with a near-post finish from 10 yards. Fresno almost replied immediately as Danny Barrera produced a volleyed finish from the top of the six-yard area that was parried onto his crossbar by SPR goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas, while Juan Pablo Caffa sent a free kick from 30 yards just over the crossbar a minute later. Fresno threatened again five minutes into the second half when Caffa fired a shot from the left side of the penalty that was denied, while Don Smart volleyed a finish just wide of the right post with 19 minutes to go as he caught a cross by Myer Bevan from the left flush. Barry almost struck for his second of the game in the 80th minute only to spoon his point-blank chance over the crossbar, while Fresno threatened through a header by Bevan that deflected off Rangers defender Graham Smith and went over the crossbar. Swope Park almost got an insurance goal in the final minute as Colton Storm was denied twice by Foxes goalkeeper Kyle Reynish, but the hosts held on for a fourth consecutive victory that further solidified their place in the postseason positions.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Amer Didic, Swope Park Rangers – Didic won 12 of 18 duels and recorded eight clearances and three interceptions to help lead the Rangers defense as it allowed Barry’s early goal to stand as the winner.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers 2 scored three goals in the first half on the way to a 4-0 victory against Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Providence Park. Portland almost took the lead in the fifth minute as a counterattack led by Marvin Loria down then left found Dairon Asprilla with a low finish he slid just wide at the back post, but seven minutes later the hosts went in front as Bill Tuiloma sent home a towering header at the near post from Loria’s corner kick from the left. Loria then added a goal of his own in the 24th minute when he finished off a cutback from Marco Farfan from the left byline with a low first-time finish. T2’s Andre Lewis and Jack Barmby both had chances to add to the lead before halftime, and Barmby capitalized in first-half stoppage time to make it three as he got in behind the Roughnecks defense on the right and slotted home at the near post. The Roughnecks almost found a reply with just over 20 minutes to go when Adriano Jusino sent a header over the crossbar from close range following a corner kick, and T2’s Mo Jadama fired a shot that was tipped over by Tulsa goalkeeper Chase Gentry in the 75th minute before Foster Langsdorf had a penalty kick saved five minutes later as Gentry kept out the shot to the right corner. With six minutes to go, however, Victor Arboleda’s deflected finish after Asprilla had won possession and released him into the penalty area put a seal on the win for the hosts.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Marvin Loria, Portland Timbers 2 – Loria had a goal and assist to sent T2 on their way to victory as he continued his strong season for the side.