By Benjamin Peacock
The Little Rock Rangers continued to hold their opponents scoreless as they met Boca FC of the Gulf Coast Premier League on a rainy Saturday evening at War Memorial Stadium. Much like their match last week, the Rangers got on the board early as Donald Benamna fed a pass center to striker Lance Crabtree at the six minute mark.
Ten minutes later Ben Watson blistered a pass from midfield down the wing to Crabtree who sent the ball toward the face of the goal. The ball deflected off the Knights defender and snuck in at the corner for an own goal to put the Rangers up 2-0.
Crabtree joined the team for training in February and was among several players getting match time tonight as the Rangers look to finalize their roster before conference play. Unfortunately, the second goal came at a price as Crabtree left the match with a lower body injury. The Rangers played short-handed for six minutes until forward Alex Guadron checked into the game.
Crabtree described his preparation for the match. “My wingers Donald and Sabelo told me when they get it out wide to tackle into the box as fast and hard as I can. Get my foot on the end of the cross and they’ll get me some goals,” he said.
Goal number three came at 44 minutes as, once again, Benamna fed a pass inward, this time to Guadron who slid the ball in sharply to make the game 3-0. In the meantime, goalkeeper Walid Birrou saw only one shot on goal in the first half that came in stoppage. Head coach Will Montgomery liked what he saw from his players and planned on focusing in on a couple adjustments.
“We need to do a better job of our unforced errors–passing the ball to opposition and more service inside the 18,” Montgomery said at the half. “We were showing a little fatigue there at the end and need to take care of the ball in midfield. My [midfielders] did a double team and they got past us, allowing them to get a shot off.”
In the second half, Montgomery made three additional sub outs of veterans for roster candidates. Miguel Gomez came in for Trevor Reed at 59 minutes. Birrou came out at 71 minutes to give Jake Askew some net time. And Eric Ramirez subbed in for Sabelo at 81 minutes.
The final goal was scored in the 77th minute when Jake Selig sent a breakaway pass to a free and open Ulises Caba Cordova who froze the Knights goalkeeper with a soft bouncer. 4-0 Rangers. In the end, the Knights made three shots on goal to challenge Birrou and Askew.
The next time the Rangers take the pitch will be April 28 at 6:00 pm when they host Bugeaters FC for the final preason match. The final roster for the men’s team will be set in the coming weeks and then the Rangers must turn their attention to Heartland Conference and US Open Cup matches in early May.
LITTLE ROCK RANGERS 4 – BOCA FC KNIGHTS 0
6′ – Rangers 1 – Boca FC 0 (Lance Crabtree, Assist-Donald Benamna)
16′ – Rangers 2 – Boca FC 0 (Own Goal, Lance Crabtree)
44′ – Rangers 3 – Boca FC 0 (Alex Guadron, Assist-Donald Benamna)
77′ – Rangers 4 – Boca FC 0 (Ulises Caba Cordova)