KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In their opening game of the 2016 USL regular season, T2 fell to Swope Park Rangers 2-1 at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night.
After going down 2-0 in the second half, following Kevin Oliveria’s conversion from the penalty spot in the 48th minute and Daniel Sallois’ finish in the 90th minute, T2 (0-0-1, 0pts) scored its first goal of the season when midfielder Nick Besler slotted home a cross from forward Kharlton Belmar with a composed finish to beat Rangers goalkeeper Jon Kempin in stoppage time.
Down 1-0 in the second half, T2 threatened to find an earlier equalizer in the 50th minute. Stemming from forward Neco Brett’s curling free kick into the box, defender Taylor Peay’s strike was on its way into the back of the net when Kempin managed to pull the ball off the line, before making another diving save on Peay’s follow-up attempt.
In the 77th minute, T2 created another chance on the counter attack when Brett released Belmar with a pass from deep in midfield. The forward drove into the box before laying the ball back to Brett, whose effort went wide of the target.
But, Swope Park Rangers (1-0-0, 3pts), who were playing the first match in the team’s inaugural USL campaign, doubled their lead in the 90th minute when Sallois tucked away Mark Anthony Gonzalez’s driven pass into the area with a finish at the near post.
Next up, T2 will return to Portland to face Cascadia-rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 in their 2016 home opener on Saturday, April 2, beginning a three-game homestand; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific) at Merlo Field.
Season tickets, starting at $8 per game, for T2 home matches are now on sale at www.timbers2.com or by calling (503) 553-5555. Single-game tickets for T2 home games are available at the Providence Park box office, online at www.timbers2.com, and on game day at the venue box office.
Saturday’s match will also be available via a live, high-definition web stream at www.timbers2.com
Post Game Quote Sheet
T2 head coach Andrew Gregor
On the result of the game…
“We’re disappointed with the result. I thought we could have done a better job managing the tactics of the opponent, but this game will serve as a good learning lesson for this group moving forward.”
On the team’s fight in the second half…
“We’re disappointed with the goals that we conceded. But, I was pleased with the continued fight toward the end of the game. The game could have been different if certain moments were managed better.”
On several players making their professional debuts…
“We had six players that made their professional debuts tonight. Overall, the performances varied throughout the match. At times, it was good, and at times, it reflected the inexperience.”
T2 (0-0-1, 0pts) vs. Swope Park Rangers (1-0-0, 3pts)
March 26, 2016 – Children’s Mercy Park (Kansas City, Kan.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
T2 0 1 1
Swope Park Rangers 0 2 2
SPR: Oliveira (penalty kick), 48
SPR: Salloi (Gonzalez), 90
POR: Besler (Belmar), 90
POR: Bijev (Caution), 39
SPR: Oliveira (Caution), 54
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Hamilton, D Peay ©, D Manning, D Gallagher, D Farfan (Lowe, 64), M Besler, M Lewis, M Damraoui (Casiple, 74), F Brett, F Bijev (Belmar, 74), F Polk
Substitutes Not Used: GK Luthy, M Idowu
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Two players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Peay, 2); FOULS: 13 (4, Damraoui); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 3 ; SAVES: 6
SPR: GK Kempin, D Mulligan, D Meyer, D Vancompernolle, D Duke ©, M Ualefi, M Granitto (Salloi, 85), M Oliveira, F Medranda (Selbol, 74), F Kelly (Gonzalez, 90), F Tyrpak (Pasher, 61)
Substitutes Not Used: G Lubin, D Ballo, D Didic
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Kelly, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Two players tied, 2); FOULS: 11 (Two players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2
Referee: Jon Freeman
Assistant Referees: Ryan Cook, Devin Blazek
4th Official: Jack Feldman
Weather: Overcast, 55 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial