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Preview: SPR vs Real Monarchs SLC

Swope Park Rangers look to get back on track against fellow Western Conference leader Real Monarchs SLC.

Will Popovic switch up the lineup after their first loss?
Thad Bell

Swope Park Rangers suffered their first loss in what can be described as nothing short of an entertaining game against Phoenix Rising FC. While the Rangers might feel hard done on a few calls, they still fought admirably till the bitter end against Phoenix Rising FC.

SPR won’t have long to sulk over their fist loss of the season as they face a Real Monarchs SLC side that is just three points ahead of them in the standings. Swope Park will be on the road again this Saturday, but there are a few reasons why there will likely be a different beginning to the game.

Swope Park Rangers

Kevin Oliveira came off the bench again against Phoenix Rising FC, but scored two goals in the final eleven minutes of the game to give SPR a fighting chance at a come back. It is understandable why coach Popovic has been slowly increasing his minutes coming back from an injury such as an ACL tear, but after such a display it could be difficult for Popovic to not put Oliveira in the starting eleven.

Another wonder is if we see Cameron Iwasa out on the wing or at center forward for a third straight game. Personally I haven’t been really excited by Iwasa’s play. When I think of a Sporting KC loanee I think of someone that should really dominate a USL game, but Iwasa just hasn’t really shown that yet. Needless to say though if Peter Vermes says he needs minutes he’ll likely get minutes.

Lastly, could we see a shake up on the backline or at keeper? After giving up four goals in under 50 minutes it has to be a thought that is going through the mind of coach Popovic to replace David Greczek or shakeup the defense in some way.

Real Monarchs SLC

Real Monarchs are currently seated second in the Western Conference table having only suffered one loss from their first five games.

SPR’s backline will have their hands full with a front line that has yet to be shutout this season. What is even more alarming is that the Monarchs have eight players with a goal this season, and four that have multiple goals (Chandler Hoffman leads the side with three goals from their first five games).

For a SPR side that really struggled last weekend giving up four goals in the first half one has to be nervous that the train could come off the tracks early again.

While the Monarchs have the ability to score goals they also have the ability to give them up as well. Monarchs have conceded an average of 1.4 goals per game through their first four against sides that aren’t as offensively powered as SPR.

Final Thoughts

After a dismal first game on the road can SPR bounce back? This is not only a great test to see how they respond after a defeat, but also to see how they play against another very good MLS owned USL side. Both teams have some very exciting MLS prospects, and could there be a better way to fuel the Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake rivalry than having their USL sides play against each other just hours before the senior teams kick off?

Match Details

The game starts at 5:00 CT and can be viewed by clicking on this link.