The Swope Park Rangers announced not just the rumored one player, but a second player on Friday. The announced forward Jose Barragan, that we announced earlier in the week and they also added a Russian-born, French midfielder.
The players will both be added to the roster pending league and federation approval.
Since we already talked about Barragan, let’s start with Rassambek Akhmatov. He’s just 22-years-old and has played his previous two years for FC Miami City who play in unofficial fourth tier USL Premier Development League (USL PDL). Akhmatov, who is both a French and Russian citizen, spent time with FR Haguenau’s Academy.
Once he was 18 he moved to FCSR Obernai which is a club in the sixth (!) division of France. In between his seasons at FC Miami City Akhmatov went back to France to play for ASPV Strasbourg who are a fifth tier French club. In that final PDL season he scored two goals and added an assist in 10 appearances.
In the below highlight video (which appears to be edited by Akhmatov himself — which is good marketing) he is wearing #8 but he actually appears to be playing the #6 holding midfield role. He’s very slick on the ball (who knows outside the highlights) and he has some nice through balls, passes and interceptions. It would seem he could potentially play any of the SPR midfield roles since they, much like Sporting Kansas City, play a holding mid with two #8s.
Obviously these are selected clips. There is a bit of holding onto the ball too much that could lead to turnovers. Either way, SPR need some help so hopefully he’s one of the answers.
Jose’s name being much more common, it’s been harder to track down highlights (maybe he should get Akhmatov to help him edit some clips).
It’s unclear how quickly these moves will go through but SPR are in need of some help. As mentioned previously, midfielder Roman Knox is on his way to college (he wasn’t on the bench on Wednesday and may have already moved on). The starting trio of midfielders Felipe Hernandez, Chase Minter and Matheus Silva have put in a lot of minutes lately. Silva plays holding mid, but he has improved dramatically in 2018 and is young. If I take anyone off I remove Minter who has his moments but has been less than impressive. Silva or Akhmatov can play the holding mid (probably Silva) and then Hernandez would have the ability to get forward more.
Of more immediate concern is that leading (non-SKC loanee) scorer Hadji Barry is suspended (due to a red card) for Saturday’s game against Orange County SC. If Barragan can play that would help a front three that will be lacking attacking options.
We’ll see if more moves are in SPR’s future but theses moves make more sense than signing another mid-20’s player who has likely already proved he’ll never make it to Sporting KC. With these two, you never know.
For a little more info, here are the players vitals courtesy of SportingKC.com:
Born: 5/13/00 (18 years old)
Weight: 155 lbs.
Hometown: Machiques, Venezuela
Birthplace: Machiques, Venezuela
Citizenship: Venezuela, Colombia
Born: 5/31/96 (22 years old)
Weight: 150 lbs.
Hometown: Strasbourg, France
Birthplace: Atchkhoï-Martan, Russia
Citizenship: France, Russia