Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Swope Park Rangers concluded their preseason with a 1-1 draw against Creighton University at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday afternoon. Mark Anthony Gonzalez, fresh off his first call-up to the Canada U23 National Team, scored the lone goal for SPR.
The Rangers took the lead in just the seventh minute, when Christian Duke was taken down inside the penalty area. Gonzalez – who led the Rangers with 12 goals in the regular season and playoffs a season ago – stepped up confidently to convert and put the Rangers up 1-0.
Five minutes later, Darrin MacLeod was called into action to deny a dangerous free kick from Creighton. An identical situation arose in the 30th minute and MacLeod was again up to the task as he made yet another save.
The Rangers’ resistance finally broke in the 35th minute when Ricky Lopez-Espin pounced on a ball in the penalty area and slotted beyond MacLeod to make the halftime score 1-1.
In the 61st minute, Louis Bennett slipped Gonzalez through on goal and the forward was taken down but the referee declined to award SPR another penalty kick. Thirteen minutes later, Gonzalez again burst free and beat his defender but the Creighton goalkeeper was able to deny him a winner as the game finished 1-1.