October 6, 2017 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Sporting Kansas City
Rangers look to extend unbeaten streak to five games
The Swope Park Rangers (16-7-7, T-2 nd place) returns to action on Sunday, October 8 when the side travels to face off against OKC Energy FC (12-11-7, T-7 th place) at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at 5 p.m. CT.
The Rangers are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 55 points, alongside Reno 1868 FC and San Antonio FC - who have a game in hand on the rest of the teams in the playoff positions. SPR can no longer claim the USL Regular-Season Championship, as Real Monarchs SLC sealed that title with a pair of wins last week.
SPR is coming off a dramatic 2-2 draw with Rio Grande Valley FC at H-E-B Park last Saturday, with Nikola Popovic's men producing a thrilling comeback from two goals down with just 15 minutes remaining. Joseph Holland and Kyle Murphy scored either side of halftime for the hosts, before the Rangers pulled a goal back in the 75 th minute when Kevin Garcia put the ball into his own net.
The side's top scorer, Kharlton Belmar, extended his scoring streak to five games when he headed home his 14 th goal of the season in the 91 st minute to ensure the Rangers returned to Kansas City with a point. Belmar, who signed with Sporting KC last month, now sits in fifth in the USL scoring charts, four behind former Rangers striker Dane Kelly in first.
The Rangers are 3-3-0 all-time against OKC Energy FC, with the Rangers currently riding a three-game winning streak against OKC after losing the first three meetings in 2016. SPR has won both meetings in 2017 - a 3-1 victory in the season-opener at Swope Soccer Village on March 25 behind goals from Belmar and Sporting KC loanees Latif Blessing and Daniel Salloi.
In the most recent matchup, the Rangers cruised to a 2-0 victory over Energy FC at Swope Soccer Village on September 2 after a brace from Lebo Moloto. The South African netted a penalty in the first half before converting from Felipe Hernandez's brilliant assist early in the second period as the Rangers claimed all three points.
OKC is hanging on to their USL Cup Playoff lives and currently sits in the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference with 43 points. However, the side coached by Sporting KC legend Jimmy Nielsen is coming off two impressive wins over Sacramento Republic FC and LA Galaxy II and has won three of their last four matches.
Energy FC cruised to a 3-0 win over Galaxy II at Taft Stadium on October 1 behind a hat trick from Jose Angulo. The striker scored from the penalty spot in the first half before adding two goals in two minutes midway through the second half to complete his hat trick to bring his goal tally to 12 on the season.
Date: Sunday, October 8, 2017
Kickoff: 5 p.m. CT
Location: Taft Stadium (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
Swope Park Rangers: 16-7-7 (55 points), T-2 nd in Western Conference
MLS Affiliate : Sporting Kansas City
OKC Energy FC: 12-11-7 (43 points), T-7 th in Western Conference
MLS Affiliate : FC Dallas
Game Notes: Click Here
Live Stream: The game will be broadcast on SportingKC.com and YouTube.com/USL
Game-specific hashtag: #OKCvSPR
Swope Park Rangers
OKC Energy FC