The Swope Park Rangers ended their 2019 season, and their time going by the name Swope Park Rangers, on Wednesday with a close 2-1 loss to third place Indy Eleven on the road. Six Sporting Kansas City players featured for the Rangers: Graham Smith, Eric Dick, Jaylin Lindsey, Felipe Hernandez, Wan Kuzain and Tyler Freeman. All but Freeman started and he would come off the bench late.
Wilson Harris netted his 12th goal of the season to end a strong final third of the season for him. He was assisted by Ethan Vanacore-Decker. On the other side of the field former SPR player Dane Kelly score both goals for Indianapolis in a bit more revenge against his former team. Another former SPR and Sporting KC player featured for Indy as well. Tyler Pasher ran up and down the field all night and barely missed the goal on multiple occasions.
Let’s get to the final takeaways.
Wilson Harris Finished Strong
What looked like a disappointing season and had me personally questioning if Harris should have skipped college at the University of Louisville and gone pro, turned into a strong late season run. Harris took over the starting striker job late in the year and he bagged 12th goals. Most of them came late in the year and he showed promise going into 2020. He’ll be 20-years-old in November and he looks to be a strong piece to build around in the future. And who knows, maybe he has a first team future with SKC if he continues to develop.
Jaylin Lindsey Had a Rough 1st Half
SKC loanee Jaylin Lindsey didn’t get off to a hot start tonight. He had trouble dealing with the pace of the aforementioned Pasher (one example in the highlights below) until Indy simply stopped playing down the left side of their attack. Lindsey was also visibly frustrated on multiple occasions due to bad passes coming his way. He was also frustrated with passes that weren’t made to him. In lots of instances he’s made hard charging runs up the right wing for him teammates to simply not put the ball through to him.
He did however rebound with a strong second half, despite the goals. They really had nothing to do with him in the end.
Eric Dick Still Struggles with His Feet
Dick has been with Sporting KC or the Rangers in some capacity for the last two years. He has a single game with SKC (that rough 6-0 disaster to close the season at FC Dallas) and a fair amount of games with SPR. Despite that, he has made little progress when it comes to playing the ball with his feet.
That continued tonight as the second Indy goal came when, as they had all game, SPR struggled to play out of pressure and played it all the way back to Dick to send it up the field. But instead of just clearing it all the way down and resetting the defense, he hit a low clearance and it was intercepted and a couple passes later Kelly scored again.
Dick is a fantastic shot stopper and that was on display again tonight. But if he can’t learn to play with his feet, considering the way SPR and SKC want to play out of the back, his future won’t be in Kansas City.
Were Rad and Allach to Blame Last Week?
Ayyoub Allach and Kaveh Rad didn’t make the starting lineup (Allach wasn’t even in the 18). They were part of the 8-3 smothering by Louisville City FC last week.
Rad showed great promise in 2019 and hopefully he’ll be back next year. Allach grew on me throughout the year and stole most of the d-mid minutes from Kuzain (who played more of a #8 role a lot this year when he wasn’t injured). Both are young and both could be back but I can’t help but think they were potentially being punished for the game last week as neither of them were on the injury report (just Brooks Thompson, Camilo Benitez and Wilson Harris were listed — BTW, Benitez missed the entire season with injury).
Highlights from the Game
Despite losing again, SPR were competitive in this match. They didn’t have a bunch of chances, but they were always in the game. The highlights are Indy heavy but you can catch them below.