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Preview: SPR vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2

Swope Park Rangers look to end a two game losing streak against fellow MLS owned USL side Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.

SKC’s Colton Storm has been a regular on the back line for Swope Park
Thad Bell

Swope Park Rangers fell short again on the road against Real Monarchs SLC last weekend. SPR will be looking to bounce back against a Vancouver Whitecaps 2 side that has had their own fair share of struggles this season sitting 2-2-2 on the season so far. Can SPR stop the slide before they fall too far behind the rest of the pack?

Swope Park Rangers

Will we see the same backline for the fourth game in a row? Coach Popovic’s current backline of Colton Storm, Amer Didic, Erik Palmer-Brown, and Tyler Pasher are 1-2 from the past three games and have allowed a total of six goals. While I think SKC players like Storm, EPB, and Pasher undoubtedly have to make the starting eleven, one has to wonder if SPR’s defender of the year Amer Didic could end up on the bench to shake things up. I also wouldn’t count out a loan for Igor Juliao or Saad Abdul-Salaam in order to get them some minutes.

Coach Popovic did choose to start Kevin Oliveira last week, but as a center forward not as a center attacking mid. Oliveira appeared to struggle with the physicality of Real Monarch’s Nick Besler (brother of SKC’s Matt Besler) and apposing sides backline. While I understand the need to get Lebo Moloto into the rotation to see what he can do, I believe SPR would be better served with Oliveira playing in the midfield.

Khalrton Belmar has now scored in every game that he has started for Swope Park Rangers, which will likely lead to him receiving another start tomorrow. It could be interesting to see who accompanies him up top in the 4-3-3. Even though in my opinion Cameron Iwasa hasn’t shown incredibly well it’s likely he’s given another run out, and with how few minutes some players are getting with SKC a few loans could not be out of the question.

Likely candidates for a loan spell for tomorrow could be Saad Abdul-Salaam, who seems to be struggling to find with a Sporting KC backline that has been what some might call a brick wall, and Cameron Porter who has yet to play a single minute this season.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2

While the Whitecaps have struggled to get wins this season they are allowing less than a goal a game this season and have recorded three clean sheets so far. The ‘Caps appear to be transitioning back to a backline of four after a three game stint of playing with three in which they played Sem de Wit in the #6 role.

Sem de Wit was similar to Amer Didic last season in that he showed very well in his first season with the Whitecaps 2 side and earned himself a few call-ups to the Whitecaps first team for three CONCACAF Champions League games (although he did not make an appearance).

Being on the road, and averaging only 48% of the possession against a Swope Park Rangers side that loves to control possession of the ball, it’s likely that the Whitecaps will look to pack it in and hit on the counter.

Offensively the Whitecaps have struggled, scoring only six goals on the season. They are led by Thomas Sanner who has two thus far. The Whitecaps also have four other players sitting on one goal so it’s likely that scoring could come from anywhere.

Final Thoughts

While I would say this game is all about getting back on track I think it is also about getting some guys minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a few Sporting KC faces that we haven’t seen yet tomorrow, and I also wouldn’t be surprised to see some youngsters get some quality minutes. Lastly this is a much needed game at home which will hopefully lead to a win and Swope Park Rangers getting back to their winning ways.

Match Details

The game starts at 7:30 CT and can be viewed by clicking on this link.