Swope Park Rangers look to solidify a playoff spot at they face the Real Monarchs tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium. The match kicks off at 8:00 PM and the live stream can be found at SportingKC.com and YouTube.com/USL.
The Rangers will be without any loans from Sporting Kansas City as they have all been recalled with the first team going through some injury and suspension woes.
"It's been a week of instability when it comes to training because of the changes to players," Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos explained. "When something happens to the first team regarding injuries or suspensions it impacts directly the B team but we are ready for it. These are things we have to be used to."
At least part of the week, Sporting Kansas City had several Rangers practicing with them, possibly in preparation for call ups during Champions League play. When asked if it has been a challenge, Dos Santos laughed and relied, "Since day one, since day one, but it's good. It's bad if Peter doesn't like any of our guys. If we always have the same guys all week, then there is a problem."
Dos Santos feels his team is handling the challenges well this season. "The team is in a very good moment. We wanted always to be in the top eight. It was a clear objective from the start and we are there. With the stretch of games we have at home it will be good," Dos Santos observed.
Academy players have returned
Part of the mission of the Swope Park Rangers was to have an opportunity for the SKC Academy players to move up and experience the next level. Early in the season several players practiced and found their way into games with the Rangers but they have been absent for a few weeks.
The Development Academy season is 1o months long and most of Sporting KC's youth teams were involved in playoffs so the players were given some time off for their bodies to rest and heal.
Dos Santos was excited to have the young players back in camp. "It's excellent," he stated. "We always want to make sure we have the academy guys in. They are doing great, they come back from vacation and that gives us good numbers and good possibilities." Dos Santos acknowledged thay it may take a little time for them to get back in rhythm, "we are patient with that, very patient with that."
The Rangers could have the Academy players back in the 18 but may wait until they have a little more time back as well.
Rangers looking forward to playing the Monarchs
"It's a great atmosphere to go to Rio Tinto, a great field, a great stadium," Dos Santos noted about visiting the monarchs. "They are very possession oriented team. They have some experience like Schuler playing center back and Fernandez in goal."
"They have pieces that we have to be very careful of," Dos Santos continued. "Velazco on the left side but the thing is they have been changing a lot. We are not sure what to expect in the lineup but we know every game in the USL away is very difficult. It's always a challenge and we always have to be ready."