South Africa’s Lebo Moloto suffers USL Cup defeat in USA
Posted: 14 November 2017 Time: 08:39
South Africa’s Lebo Moloto ended the USL campaign in disappointment following Swope Park Rangers’ 1-0 USL Cup defeat to Louisville City.
The South African’s club had enjoyed a solid run into this season’s cup final, in what is a somewhat complex third-tier system in the USA: having come fourth in the regular league stages of Western Conference, Rangers qualified for the championship stages, beating Didier Drogba’s Phoenix Rising in the quarter-finals, Sacramento Republic in the semi-finals and OKC Energy in the final to win their second Western Conference title in succession.
This then resulted in a USL Cup final showdown against Eastern Conference winners Louisville, which took place at Louisville Slugger Field in Kentucky on Monday night.
In a game of few chances, Moloto was handed a starting berth – his 29th of the season – upfront, and thought he had netted the opener 36 minutes in, letting fly from outside the box as Louisville keeper Gregory Ranjitsingh produced a diving save to his right to deny the South African.
In the second half, Moloto continued in his quest to break the deadlock, again making Ranjitsingh work as he forced the gloveman into another sprawling save with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Yet the evening would end in heartbreak for Moloto and his teammates, as on 88 minutes, Louisville’s Cameron Lancaster rose highest from a cross to head home, securing the 1-0 victory as his side lifted the 2017 USL Cup.
It was a second USL Cup final defeat in a row for Rangers, following their 5-1 loss to New York Red Bulls II last year.
Moloto ends the season with seven goals in 33 appearances, the third-highest scorer in the Rangers squad.