In the first of two games yesterday, the Swope Park Rangers took care of business against the University of Evansville Purple Aces. The Rangers started 2 trialists, Kyle Brown, and Haggi Leboo a former Rockhurst University player. The game overall started fairly slow with neither team getting many chances, but the Rangers dominating possession. Evansville had half chances on the break, but early on there wasn't much between the teams. It was actually the Purple Aces who had the first best chance off a corner. A nice header that was headed for the lower corner was palmed out by Eric Kronberg before it crossed the line. The rebound fell to another Evansville player. Kronberg was up and blocked that shot, and dove on the ball as the Evansville player tried to get off another shot. Late in the first half, KC finally grabbed the lead through Graham Zusi. On a ball over the top, Zusi let it run by and into the box where he volleyed it. The ball hit the underside of the cross bar and bounced into the net to give KC the 1-0 lead which held up to half time.
The second half started quickly for KC, who earned a free kick on the corner of the box some 40 seconds into the half. Zusi played in the free kick, which was low and towards the near post. Sunil Chhetri beat his man and with a diving header, glanced the ball past the Purple Aces keeper to double the lead. KC continued to dominate the game and Chhetri made it 3-0 soon afteward. Brown played a ball across the top of the box on the ground to Chhetri, who calmly from about 16 yards out flicked the ball with the outside of his foot into the net, a nice little finish, showing some of his skill. Chhetri rounded out his natural hattrick on a break away when he was played through by Leboo. Chhetri got in alone on the keeper and slotted the ball into the net for a 4-0 lead. The scoring was finished up shortly after Chhetri's 3rd, when KC was fouled about 35 yards out. Mauro Fuzetti stepped up to take the kick and fired a shot that just squeezed between the keeper and the post to make it 5-0. The Purple Aces had one late chance, but Kronberg again made the save to keep the shutout and give the Rangers the 5-0 win.
Man of the Match - Sunil Chhetri - First time I've gotten to see him play, he looked a little lost in the system in the first half, but in the second half really came alive and played well. I liked his 2nd finish with the outside of his right foot as well as his willingness to lay out for the header on the first goal.
Honorable Mention - Graham Zusi
Player Ratings - Kronberg 7, Leathers 7, Escobar 6, Hohlbein 6, Aiyegbusi 7, Fuzetti 7, Zusi 8, Leboo 5, Brown 6, Chhetri 8, Kostrov 5. Subs were all trialist that I didn't know the names of so I'm not going to grade them.