Home NASL & USL More NASL & USL Our unofficial Team Canada, Swope Park Rangers, loses USL final

Our unofficial Team Canada, Swope Park Rangers, loses USL final

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Our unofficial Team Canada in the USL final ended up being overhwelmed by New York Red Bulls II.

NYRBII won the USL championship at home Sunday night, beating Swope Park Rangers by a 5-1 count. For Rangers’ Canadian coach, Marc Dos Santos, it marked the second straight year he faced a New York team in a championship game — and lost. In 2015, his Ottawa Fury lost to the New Cosmos in the NASL Championship game.

Swope Park, exploiting USL rules which allow Canadians to be treated as domestic players on the roster of Canadian and U.S.-based teams, started three Canadians in the final — Amer Didic, Tyler Pasher and Jonathan Grant. And Canadian Mark Anthony Gonzalez, who suffered a hamstring injury last week, came in as a 61st-minute sub. Grant had been getting more minutes in the playoffs, and Didic has turned so many heads this season as a real breakthrough player.

But, Rangers were under pressure from the opening kickoff and had a difficult time dealing with the Red Bulls’ high press. There were sequences where the Red Bulls would create a chance, get the ball back, get another chance, another chance, score. Basically, the Red Bulls dare you to counter their high-tempo attack; gamble that they’ll run you into the ground before you can really figure out how to strike back.

The Red Bulls’ goal that made it 3-1 — effectively ending the games as a contest — saw the home side flood the penalty area and win the ball back several times before Brandon Allen scored the second of his three goals.

Swope Park’s only goal came from ex-FC Edmonton midfielder Tomas Granitto, on a free kick that bounced through the penalty area and found the net.

Now, Dos Santos will leave for his third team in three years. He will take over as the first coach in the history of the NASL’s San Francisco Deltas.

I’ve spoken to more than a few players who have played for MDS in the past; and it’s clear that their loyalties run pretty deep. They’ll tell you about what an excellent motivator he is.

So, don’t be surprised to see several players who have worked under MDS in the past to try and make moves to San Francisco. My guess is that his cellphone will be buzzing and his email inbox will be filled with highlight videos from free agents. But if the Deltas make the final in NASL final, they might hope to face anybody but the Cosmos.

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