On Tuesday, Sporting Kansas City announced eight players would go on loan to their USL club, the Swope Park Rangers ahead of Wednesday’s game. The Rangers will welcome Western Conference foes the Colorado Springs Switchbacks to Children’s Mercy Park for the clubs first use of the senior teams home field. The eight loanees are as follows:
- GK Adrian Zendejas
- D Emiliano Amor
- D Matt Lewis
- D Jaylin Lindsey
- D Cristian Lobato
- D Graham Smith
- M Gianluca Busio
- F Diego Rubio
The only new names on the list are 15-year-old Gianluca Busio and 18-year-old Jaylin Lindsey. Both players were expected to be loaned to Swope Park for much of the 2018 season but this will be their first appearance (assuming they get on the field — which there is no reason to believe they won’t). Busio has been with the SKC Academy for the Generation Adidas Cup and Lindsey has been in the 18 for most of the SKC games in 2018.
Jaylin Lindsey is likely to line up at right back, where he’s been backing up Graham Zusi with Sporting KC, the place where Colton Storm has primarily been playing for the Rangers. Storm has played well (even playing some left back) but he gave up an unfortunate own goal in the second half of last Saturday’s game against the Las Vegas Lights which would ultimately be the deciding goal (for the record, I believe Eric Dick was probably majority at fault for allowing that goal). Storm is not on the loan list and probably needs a break during the midweek game.
Gianluca Busio is listed as a midfielder and that is where he played during MLS Preseason in Tucson, AZ during the Mobile Mini Sun Cup. He played the #10 role and mostly looked good during preseason outside of a disastrous game against the New England Revolution. In the lone GA Cup game I witnessed he appear to be playing the winger position in the 4-3-3 instead of the midfield. If he lined up there, team captain Rodrigo Saravia would have to go to the bench. Saravia already has two goals in three games including the loan SPR goal against the LV Lights.
All the other players on loan will be in at least their second game with the club. Rubio scored in his lone appearance against Reno 1868. 2018 first round SuperDraft pick Graham Smith has played every game with the Rangers. Matt Lewis, a SKC Homegrown signing from this offseason, only has a single appearance when Amer Didic went down injured against Reno.
Lobato and Amor both appeared against Vegas last weekend. Despite the loss, neither player played poorly and it’s possible the tiny pitch at Cashman field impact the Rangers ability to implement their game. At times Lobato showed the explosiveness and dribbled through most of the other team before disappearing back to the left back shadows.
The last loanee is Zendejas who let in three goals during that crazy snow game in the season opener (though one was an own goal from Lewis). In three games the Rangers have started three goaltenders and if Zendejas were to start again then that would mark his second start.
Players Not Loaned
Outside of the aforementioned Storm, at least one other surprise isn’t on the list. Kharlton Belmar had four goals in the first two games with the Rangers and it appears he’ll be getting a rest (or a first team call-up).
Seven of the eight SKC players should get the start, the question is just where they will line up and who will join them.
Lindsey - Amor - Smith - Lobato
Kuzain - Hernandez - Saravia
Busio - Rubio - Barry
How to Watch
As always, USL will stream the game via their YouTube page (embedded below). However, tickets to see SPR are super cheap. If you are a Sporting KC season ticket member they are just $5. The team has all kinds of other deals and they are giving out a Hat Trick Harry beer koozie at the game. The game starts at 7:30 PM CT. The Switchbacks are just 1-2-0 on the season but it’s still early.
[This story originally stated Busio and Lindsey were likely to make their pro debuts but Lindsey made his pro debut on an Academy contract in 2016.]