The Swope Park Rangers are now the hottest team in the Western Conference with their win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Wednesday.
The reigning Western Conference champions overcame a difficult start to put together a great run of form over the last few weeks. During the five game streak, the Rangers have given up just two goals and have a goal differential of +8. With a number of games against lower competition in the coming weeks, the Rangers could be poised to separate themselves from the pack, and even move into one of the top two spots pending other results.
Let’s look at the rest of the midweek action:
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 0-1 Swope Park Rangers
The Swope Park Rangers extended their win-streak to five games with a midday, midweek win over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 by a score of 1-0. Both teams created a number of opportunities in the first half, but Whitecaps goalkeeper Sean Melvin and Rangers goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas were up to the task, making important saves and keeping the score level at the break.
Arguably, the Whitecaps were the better team through the first 45 minutes, and would ultimately rue their missed opportunities. Second half substitute Kharlton Belmar scored just three minutes after his introduction to give the visitors the road win. Kevin Oliveira delivered a well-placed free kick to the head of Belmar, and the 24-year-old forward delicately redirected the ball into the net. Belmar remained active during his shift, setting up Oliveira for a shot in the 80th minute that was just off target. With the win, the Rangers are now seven points clear in third place.
Harrisburg City Islanders 2-0 New York Red Bulls II
With a number of regulars out of the gameday squad, including Hassan Ndam, Vincent Bezecourt, Brandon Allen, and Derrick Etienne, the New York Red Bulls II dropped a road result, 2-0, to the Harrisburg City Islanders. The Islanders scored both goals in the first half of action. James Thomas opened the scoring in the 20th minute, latching on to a rebound and burying his shot past a sprawling Rafi Diaz.
Though Thomas’s goal would prove to be the winner, the Islanders added an insurance goal just before the half. Paul Wilson received the ball on a break during a counter attack for the Islanders and slotted home his shot past the onrushing Diaz in the 41st minute. The Islanders are now back in the playoff hunt thanks to the win and sit just two points back from the final spot.
Orlando City B 1-1 Tampa Bay Rowdies
The second meeting in the I-4 derby saw both teams walk away with a point. The Tampa Bay Rowdies got things going in the 21st minute. Joe Cole slipped Martin Paterson in on goal, and the striker would not be denied. Orlando City struggled creating offense throughout the first half, and the early stages of the second half. Orlando City coach Anthony Pulis sent in three attacking subs in the second half, including Dany Deakin and Richie Laryea. Deakin would go on to score the equalizer from the penalty spot after Laryea was fouled in the box in the 96th minute. The draw leaves the Rowdies in danger of dropping down to fifth in the standings this weekend.
LA Galaxy II 2-2 Tulsa Roughnecks
The LA Galaxy II looked well on their way to earning a valuable win over the Tulsa Roughnecks Thursday night, but the latter would have none of it, coming from two goals back to draw Los Dos, 2-2. Mo Jadama and Ian Svantesson cancelled out earlier strikes from Adrian Vera and Justin Dhillon. Despite dropping two points, the Galaxy will be happy with their offensive performance over their last two matches. The Roughnecks clawed back into the game on a set piece and found the winner after an impressive display on the wing from Kosuke Kimura, who found Ian Svantesson in the box for the equalizer. While the Roughnecks may be displeased with not taking the opportunity to move up the table, they remain in the final playoff spot in the West.