Swope Park Rangers take on LA Galaxy II tonight with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. CT at Swope Soccer Village. The Rangers need results to work into the USL playoff hunt but face a tough team in the Galaxy’s reserve squad.
The LA Galaxy II are in sixth in the west with a 9-5-9 (36 pts) record but Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos thinks they are better than their record. “They are one of if not the most talented teams individually, they have a lot of players that are of high quality technically and are a team that can be dangerous at any moment in the game. They are a team that should be higher in the standings but are going through a difficult moment. Maybe it is all the movements you face when you are a ‘B’ team that they are going through but they are a team that is very dangerous and will be an incredible challenge for us.”
Rangers get some help
Sporting Kansas City had recalled all of their loans back up to the first team with another round of injuries and the schedule congestion between league and CONCACAF Champions League matches. The first team had also borrowed Amer Didic, Ualefi and Tyler Pasher for the CCL games but they have been returned to the Rangers. Didic played two full matches in CCL while Ualefi played a half while with the first team.
“I hope they did not forget too many things,” Dos Santos observed. “I hope they have the right mindset in regards to what we want to do and what they have to do to improve. When you play with the first team there are so many similarities but the differences, the types of player they play with, the type of outlets they have are different from the first and the second.”
“The important thing is the mentality,” Dos Santos continued. “The reason they went up is they had the right mindset, the right mentality and worked hard. Now that they are coming down they have to have the right mindset again. They are all three great additions and all three important and are going to help us.”
With those callups and some injuries the Rangers had a very young bench last match against Saint Louis FC. “Our bench when we played Saint Louis was a U-18 bench, it was all U-18 but now our bench will be totally different, more experienced, a complete different scenario from last game to this game,” Dos Santos explained.
A new face in goal
While the Rangers are always looking to win and go for a championship, the biggest mission is finding and preparing players for the first team. For most of the season, Jon Kempin and Zac Lubin have gotten most of the starts with a couple for Alec Kann (on loan down to stay sharp) thrown in.
Today the Rangers plan on giving Adrian Zendejas his first start. Adrian was with Club Tijuana and played a number of game for their U-20 team. Sporting Kansas City had their eye on him and while he was out of contract with Tijuana they signed him to take an extended look at him.
“He has looked good in training and we want to see how he is going to do. If you want to get answers in the goalkeeping position for the club then you need to make sure you look at everything and look at every player, give them a chance to get evaluated in a fair way,” Dos Santos explained.
An old face will not be on the sideline
Former Kansas City head coach Curt Onalfo is the head coach of LA Galaxy II but will not be on the bench tonight. Onalfo was ejected from their last match in the 88th minute and it is unclear if he will return to the facility where he used to coach the first team.