The Swope Park Rangers face what is becoming a familiar foe tonight when they host Oklahoma City Energy tonight. The Rangers will try to extend a three game unbeaten streak (2 wins and a tie) but it will be not be easy. This is the third match between the two teams and OKC Energy have won both previous games.
Both Swope Park and OKC are coming in to the match on short rest with both having played on the road and pulling out draws.
"It's a challenge to prepare for a game in 48 hours, we like to prepare for games with detail," Swope Park Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos stated after practice Monday. "It's been challenging. Sunday we were in a plane and a long day, we got up at 4:30 AM in Arizona and got in around 1:30 but at the end of the day I feel the guys are well recovered and we are going to have some guys from the first team joining us."
"We know the challenges, we've played OKC twice," Dos Santos continued. "It was tight games twice but we lost them so guys are very, very motivated, there is an extra motivation to win the game."
The Rangers are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference with 21 points (6-7-3) and the Energy are in 9th with 22 points (5-2-7). A win could leapfrog the Rangers all the way into 6th with their remaining schedule heavy on home games, nine of their last fourteen (including tonight) are in Kansas City.
Rangers have started to find some consistent results
Dos Santos likes that his team has started to find some consistency and get results. "I think the team in the last 3 games, we were analyzing it's actually in the last 6 games, there was only an interruption with the game we played home against OKC." Dos Santos explained. "That wasn't a game of our standard, that happens, but in the last 6 games the team has been good, consistent. Beating Seattle, beating RGV, beating Saint Louis, going to get important ties in Sacramento and Arizona but it was interrupted with that game against OKC, that it just wasn't us."
Part of that consistency will be interrupted
The Rangers have defended very well the last three games and put out the same back four of Amadou Dia (on loan) at left back, Oumar Ballo and Amer Didic at center back and Jimmy Mulligan at right back.
With the just announced loan of Kevin Ellis and Ever Avarado from the first team, Dos Santos will need to rework the back line.
"It's a B team so the consistency of the 11 starters that we were starting to build is going to be very, it's going to be changed," Dos Santos acknowledged. "You know we're getting a guy like Ever Alvarado that's going to play, Kevin Ellis is going to play, so it changes the dynamic of the team a little because they train only once with us and they are straight into the game. But they're players with a lot of quality and a lot of experience so we think that overall these guys are going to bring a plus of the team and can help us win. I think we are going to have a very good bench also, we are going to have very good options and we will be fine."
"It is a team that we have played twice and if you asked what was the best team to play in fast turnaround, probably OKC," Dos Santos added.