The Swope Park Rangers played their first real match last Saturday, winning 2-1 over Portland Timbers 2. Here are three points to take away.
1. When this team is firing on all cylinders the offense should be fun. Speed, skill and aggressiveness were all on display and should only improve. The Rangers line up will always be an ever evolving project with players called up, loaned down and ensuring some Academy players get time also. But with that said, a front three of Tyler Pasher, Dane Kelly and Kris Tyrpak will give a lot of teams fits. Throw Jimmy Medranda and Kevin Oliveira in the midfield for creativity and flair and backlines in USL should be nervous. With those players on the field , the Rangers will still have a number of attacking options on the bench, former Academy player Nansel Selbol, on loan ‘international homegrown' player (still makes me laugh to write that) Daniel Salloi, leading preseason scorer Mark Anthony Gonzalez and Academy player Will Little.
2. One key mission for the Rangers was accomplished, getting SKC first team players valuable minutes. Okay, maybe not accomplished but off to a good start. Jon Kempin started and made a couple fantastic saves, Medranda started and was creative and dangerous for 70 minutes before subbing out. Daniel Salloi came on with just a few minutes left and made a quick impact, banging home the team's second goal of the game.
3. Coach Dos Santos focused in preseason on building the team's cohesiveness and establishing the Sporting KC model of play within the team and it showed. Any longtime observer of Sporting Kansas City could see similarities in the way the Rangers played. Different players with different abilities and strengths but similar pressure and intensity.
The Rangers were entertaining and showed great potential in their inaugural match.