The Swope Park Rangers were never designed to have a huge roster. Sporting Kansas City and the Rangers management wanted a small roster, leaving room for Sporting KC Academy players to come up for experience and room for Sporting KC players to be easily loaned down.
One of the problems with that is when the roster has a couple injuries it can leave the coach lacking in options. The Rangers have had a short bench, struggling to dress the full eighteen and they have also run out a lineup with no true forward on the field.
Fortunately for head coach Marc Dos Santos, he is starting to get some more options.
Forward Dane Kelly (the leading all-time USL goals leader) has only played in the first two (of nine) games this season for the Rangers. Kelly was starting to come back not too long ago but a couple days into training had to stop.
Kelly was back to training last week and Dos Santos wants him back on the field but is taking his time. "He should be available for the trip to Vancouver (June 12th), we want to be careful with him," Dos Santos explained. "We had that setback in training, he is important for us so we want to make sure we are careful and we wait for the right moment. In the next 7-10 days he should be available."
Aryton has arrived
In May, SPR announced they had signed Brazilian midfielder Ayrton Pinheiro Victor, he arrived last week and is training with the club now. Ayrton and Rangers midfielder Ualefi were together in Corinthians' Academy so they already know each other which should help speed his transition.
Dos Santos see Aryton as being able to add to the attacking options for the Rangers, "A lot of our midfielders are holding midfielders or box to box. We have Granitto and Ualefi that are more holding, a guy like Kevin Oliviera is more box to box, a guy like Nansell is more box to box. Then you have a guy like Ayrton that is more a natural number 10. He's a player that likes to play between lines, is a left-footed midfielder, he has a good eye and a very good shot from outside the eighteen."
Sporting Kansas City manager/technical director Peter Vermes has a say in all the players coming into the club and had these observations about the young Brazilian. "He is a good young player, he is technically very good, he sees the game well, he's another good addition."
"He (Aryton) is an interesting talent for us. Guys that we bring in like that, the younger foreign players, we see them as project players, project players that have the potential of coming into the first team. We're not just getting them to make the Swope Park Rangers better; all of those guys are project players. If we are going to use a foreign player slot on a guy it's because we actually see true potential of them getting into the first team," Vermes explained.
Vermes and some previous coaches saw Aryton as a box-to-box midfielder, at Corinthians he was more of a box to box player but when he went to Uniao Madeira in Portugal they started using him as a number 10 and that is where Dos Santos has high hopes for him.
"He is our Benny Feilhaber," Dos Santos added. "He is our last third (of the field) player to make the last pass, more a natural number 10 so it is going to be interesting to see how he adapts with the group."
Between leaving his old club and arriving in Kansas City, Aryton had a couple weeks where he did not train with a team so but he should be ready for selection in the next couple games.
More Sporting KC loans soon?
Vermes has loaned Jon Kempin and Daniel Salloi since the season started but has loaned and recalled both Jimmy Medranda and Jordi Quintilla. Medranda used the time with the Rangers to impress and has been earning more time with the first team, seemingly the choice at left back now.
When asked about more loans for Swope Park, Vermes responded, "We are going to use some guys in the upcoming games for Swope Park Rangers for sure. Probably see a little more of that with Open Cup coming and those guys need to get their minutes up so they can last."
SPR has two more games, one at home one on the 8th versus Rio Grande Valley and one on the road on the 12th at Vancouver before SKC's first U.S. Open Cup match in Minnesota on the 15th.