The Swope Park Rangers got their first season off to a good start at Children's Mercy Park tonight, defeating the Portland Timbers 2 2-1 thanks to goals by Kevin Oliveira and Daniel Salloi.
The Rangers controlled the game for long periods of time against a Timbers side that didn't travel their full allotment of players for the game. In just the fourth minute Dane Kelly almost put the Rangers on top when he got onto the end of a long ball played over the top, Kelly got around his defender and fired a shot on goal that was tipped just around the post by Wade Hamilton to keep the game scoreless. The Rangers continued to press the game though causing all sorts of issues for the Portland defense. All three of SPR's front three had decent looks at goal but Kris Tyrpak, Jimmy Medranda, and Kelly again were all denied in the first half.
It didn't take long into the second half for the Rangers to break through. Kelly was once again played in on goal, but this time he was brought down in the box by a tackle leading to a penalty kick for the Rangers. Nineteen year old Kevin Oliveira stepped up and calmly put the ball into the side netting to score the first goal for the Rangers in their history. The lead was almost immediately lost as the Timbers pushed the other way and won a free kick off to the side about 35 yards from goal. The ensuing free kick into the box was headed on goal where Jon Kempin made the initial save but the ball went under him and was rolling towards goal when he reached an arm back and swatted the ball away from the goal line. The ensuing cross was again knocked away by Kempin and the Rangers escaped with their lead intact. The two sides were fairly even for much of the second half, although the Rangers looked to be the more dangerous of the two. Finally in second half stoppage time the Rangers were able to find the insurance goal on a quick counter. A through ball found substitute Mark Anthony Gonzalez toeing the offside line, Gonzalez proceeded into the attacking third and played a ball across the middle for Daniel Salloi who raced in and one timed a shot into the roof of the net to double the Rangers lead to 2-0. The insurance goal was needed as the Timbers themselves scored a goal in stoppage time as Nick Besler turned in a cross from Neco Brett late in stoppage time to cut the lead to a single goal. The Rangers held out in the end though and walked away with all three points from their first game.