It was another tough loss for the Rangers against the league leaders, Mississippi Brilla. The Stags fell 2-1 in front of a crowd of just over 3,000. The result puts the Rangers bottom of the table after three matches, losing all three by a single goal. Despite the result, there were multiple bright spots for the Little Rock side, including the return of two forwards, Lance Crabtree and Spencer Barber.
As the sun beat down from an awkward angle on the Friday late afternoon, the Rangers traded chances with Brilla early in the first half. Jaden Hoth, the acting captain for the night, had the best chance early on after a half-volley nearly found its way through the Brilla defense, but scraped off the defender’s cleat slowing its roll right into the goalkeeper’s hands. Spencer Barber, a young winger from Toronto, Canada took the ball down the right flank late in the half, muscling through three Brilla defenders, before the final defender slid in to stop a beautiful run.
As the Rangers and Brilla went back into the tunnel after 45 minutes still level. The young fans of the Rangers gathered and stood just outside of the tunnel ready to cheer on the club for the final 45. As the Stags marched out, the stadium was filled with the voices of around 25 young fans chanting and hoping the Rangers would find the winner.
Head Coach, Will Montgomery made a half-time change, bringing on Daylon Schiffel in place for Donnell Bowes, the young center-back.
It was Brilla who opened the scoring, however, in the 54th minute when a scramble inside the penalty area led to a toe-poke which found its way through the crowd and into the back of the net. Brilla was then awarded a penalty after a wayward touch which the official called a foul on the Rangers defense in the 78th minute. In the 82nd minute, the Rangers were awarded a penalty of their own after Shuto Yoneno won a 50/50 ball against a defender who then brought him down inside the penalty area. Daylon Schiffel, the half-time substitute stepped up to take it and tucked it away in the bottom left corner of the goal, just to the right of the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand.
In the 86th minute, Shuto was brought down again, this time just outside of the penalty area. Mako Makoanyane took the free-kick which was just knocked down by the wall of defenders.
The Rangers are at home again on Wednesday, June 2. Kickoff is set for 7 P.M. at War Memorial Stadium against Texas United.