The Swope Park Rangers return home tonight to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC II while the senior team is on the road at Vancouver. The first ever MLS-MLS first team and USL-USL reserve team matchup on the same night.
For the Rangers, it is their second home opener. Their first match was at Children's Mercy Park but tonight they will play at their normal field, Children's Mercy Victory Field in Swope Soccer Village.
"It's funny we talk about a second home opener, but we have to get it done," Swope Park Rangers manager Marc Dos Santos stated. "It's the stadium where we want to create something special. Our reality is to play at Swope Park and we want to do well here so it is very important that we come out well, especially in the first 15 minutes, we need to set the tone."
Vancouver will not be an easy match, they are 2-0-2 and one of the last remaining undefeated teams in USL. Swope Park is 2-1-1 and coming off their first defeat at the hands of Oklahoma City. The Energy managed to secure a 1-0 win over the visiting Rangers.
When asked about the match versus the Energy, Dos Santos was quick to respond, "We hate losing."
"The guys don't like it," he quickly added.
Dos Santos then added some analysis, "It was a game that was very difficult to adapt to the field. Our guys struggled with the turf, it's a hard surface and we could never set a certain tone offensively. Even in our counter-attack situations it wasn't clean. When you are not able to set a tempo you are more under pressure. OKC is a quite direct and aggressive team, an older team with a lot of guys that have some experience in the league and we felt it in certain moments of the game."
"I think we could beat them in games that we are at our best but we were not at our best in that game," Dos Santos continued. "Sometimes it is good to understand that to make the playoffs in the USL it will be a tough road, a long a road and a difficult one."