The Swope Park Rangers moved within five points of the Western Conference leaders after completing a Cascadia away trip that saw them win all three matches with clean sheets to boot.
After starting the season with three straight victories, the Rangers won just a single match over the next six outings. The team slipped down the standings and seemed to have regressed from last year’s championship form. To say now that they have rebounded is an understatement. The Rangers are now the hottest team in the league winning seven straight matches and keeping five consecutive clean sheets.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the midweek action:
Harrisburg City Islanders 1-1 Charlotte Independence
The Harrisburg City Islanders proclaimed their lofty expectations with a gutsy draw against the Charlotte Independence on Tuesday. \
The high tempo match was a back and forth affair to start, with goalkeepers Brandon Miller and Cody Mizell playing hero for their clubs. The Islanders opened the scoring in first half stoppage time as John Grosh’s cross found the head of Ropapa Mensah. The Independence scored the equalizer just after the half through Jorge Herrera. Enzo Martinez played in Herrera, and the striker finished his own rebound to level the match. The Independence held advantage for most of the second half after scoring the equalizer, but the Islanders held off the waves of attack to preserve the draw.
The draw puts an end to the Independence winning streak but keeps them undefeated in their last eight matches.
Rio Grande Valley FC 1-1 Orange County SC
Orange County SC missed an opportunity to sneak up the table with a draw at Rio Grande Valley FC.
The Toros had to rely on a 27th minute penalty kick to earn the point. T.J. Casner was brought down in the box, and Eric Bird scored from the spot. Ten minutes earlier, Dusan Stevanovic and Wullito Fernandes took advantage of a big mistake from the Toros backline. Fernandes closed down the backline forcing a turnover that ended up at the foot of Stevanovic alone in the box for an easy finish. Both OCSC and the Toros were a step off on the night, leaving themselves prone to mistakes or failing to take advantage of their opportunities.
The teams won’t need to wait very long to get another chance. They play again Saturday night.
Seattle Sounders 2 0-2 Swope Park Rangers
The Swope Park Rangers finished off their Cascadia sweep with another comfortable shutout victory
Seattle Sounders 2 were the recipients this time out, and they did well to keep the Rangers at bay through the first half. Just after halftime, Lebo Moloto opened the scoring for the Rangers, latching onto a ball chipped into the box, holding off his defender, and finishing to the far post from the right side of the box. The Rangers would seal the victory on a counter attack in the 83rd minute. After an errant pass from the Sounders, the Rangers broke up field through Mark Anthony Gonzalez on a three-on-two break. Gonzalez patiently waited before playing the ball the Nansel Selbol. Selbol took the shot first time, curling it to the back post from the top of the box.
The win sees the Swope Park Rangers into second place in the Western Conference.