Since the July 17th match-up with the Portland Timbers II the Swope Park Rangers have been without attacking midfielder, and potential future Sporting Kansas City senior team member, Kevin Oliveira. In the 55th minute of that game he went off with what appeared to be a knee injury.
Notice Oliveira just to the right of the center line below the center circle as he drops to the ground (SPR are in Orange).
The Rangers usually release an injury report in the preview of each weeks games but lately there have been no players listed on the report. It seemed bizarre as a team official confirmed there was an injury back in July but the severity was unknown at the time.
Since then that the team has confirmed the injury was a quadriceps strain and that he “should be back in training within a week or so.” The team has struggled a bit without Oliveira in the lineup. While they did go on to win the Portland game and the following game against Seattle Sounders II, they got smashed by Reno 1868 and have drawn three straight since then.
Portland and Seattle simply aren’t very good in USL, so those wins don’t hold as much weight. For comparison, SPR had gone eight straight games before the Oliveira injury without a loss (6-0-2). The team is in action this Wednesday the 23rd against 5th place Sacramento Republic and will play Reno again next Saturday the 26th. Both of those games are on the road.
Another reinforcement that could be available for SPR would be center back Amer Didic. While Didic is technically a member of Sporting KC he has put in 16 appearances (15 starts) with the Rangers. Didic missed the August 12th game against the Orange County Blues because he was traveling with SKC as their unused 19th man. He also practiced with SKC all this past week which is why Nikola Popovic chose to go with Oumar Ballo and Liam Doyle at central defense.
The return of one or both players could really spark Swope Park to continue their climb up the USL Western Conference rankings. They currently sit in third a point behind San Antonio FC but a whopping 11 points back from first place Real Monarchs SLC whom they put up a thrilling comeback draw against this past Friday.
If SPR were to lose Wednesday to Reno, they would fall to fourth in the standings behind the expansion club out of Nevada.