The Swope Park Rangers wrap up their last road game of the USL season at the Tulsa Roughnecks tonight at 7:30 PM. The Rangers clinched a playoff spot when they beat Oklahoma City in their last match but can secure a home playoff game if they win their last two matches. A top four finish would result in at least one home playoff game and if results go the right way a third place finish would be feasible.
The livestream can be found at SportingKC.com and the youtube site for USL.
With the Rangers having three games in a short time span, head coach Mark Dos Santos could decide to rest some players but instead he is going for the wins needed to ensure a home playoff match, “We have the clear objective we want a playoff game at home, so to get the home field we are going all-in now. We are all-in now,” Dos Santos said by phone.
“We want to play at home, there's no doubt that our first objective was to reach the playoffs but there is no doubt that we have a second objective and that is in our reach. Our second objective is to try to get a home playoff game. I think it would be very good for the club and very good for the organization, ”Dos Santos added. “I know it will be very difficult to do. We have to beat Tulsa away and Seattle at home but we believe we can do that if we take it one game at a time. That is our second objective and we want to focus on that for now.”
While injuries and the flow of game can obviously force a change, expect Dos Santos to play his best lineups from here on out. No experiments, probably no more loans, probably no Academy players unless there are some injuries. “You should see the same 18 guys plus Aryton that was in the 18 at OKC. It's not time to give that experience; it's time to put the best players possible out there,” Dos Santos explained.
Aryton missed the last match due to yellow card accumulations so he should be rested and ready if Dos Santos chooses to use him.
Two teams moving in opposite directions
Rangers enter the matchup with a 12-10-6 (42 pts.) record having won four of their last five while Tulsa returns home with a 5-19-4 (19 pts.) record and having lost four of their last five and the one positive result was a draw at Real Monarchs. Looking back further Tulsa has just one win and that single draw in the last ten matches.
Two rookies on the Team of the Week
Swope Park rookies Amer Didic and Mark Anthony Gonzalez were both named to the USL Team of the Week for Week 26 as a result of their strong play in the 3-0 win at Oklahoma City. Didic was a big part of shutting the Energy out and Gonzalez score a goal and an assist in new role for him in the midfield. This is the fifth Team of the Week recognition for Didic and the second time for Gonzalez.