The Swope Park Rangers will kick off the club’s 2018 USL campaign against Reno 1868 FC at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday at Greater Nevada Field in a clash between two of the top four teams in the Western Conference a year ago. The match will be streamed live on SportingKC.com and USLsoccer.com.
The Rangers, led by new head coach Paulo Nagamura, return six players from last season’s squad which won a second straight Western Conference championship, including Sporting Kansas City Academy products Felipe Hernandez, Will Little and Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal. The roster is also bolstered in 2018 by the addition of nine newcomers, highlighted by club captain and Guatemala international Rodrigo Saravia.
Separated by a single point in the Western Conference table in 2017, SPR and Reno 1868 FC will meet for a third time on Saturday amidst wintry weather conditions while both teams’ MLS affiliates play a St. Patrick’s Day match-up at Children’s Mercy Park. Reno swept the series during their expansion season last year with Antoine Hoppenot scoring in a 4-1 victory at Swope Soccer Village and a 1-0 win at home.
Reno 1868 FC, also coached by a longtime MLS veteran in Ian Russell, were the top scoring team in the USL last season with 75 goals. However, USL MVP Dane Kelly (D.C. United) and Rookie of the Year Chris Wehan (San Jose Earthquakes) each signed MLS contracts after leading the USL in goals and assists, respectively. The renovated Reno attack will now feature former Rangers forward Mark Anthony Gonzalez, who is SPR’s all-time leading scorer with 17 goals in 2016 and 2017.
The 2018 USL regular season will see each of the league’s 33 teams – headlined by six new sides -- play 34 games in 31 weeks. The top eight teams in both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will qualify for the postseason, which culminates with the USL Cup from Nov. 8-12.
Game 1 of 34
Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018
Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Greater Nevada Field (Reno, Nev.)
Swope Park Rangers: 0-0-0 (0 points)
MLS Affiliate: Sporting Kansas City
Reno 1868 FC: 0-0-0 (0 points)
MLS Affiliate: San Jose Earthquakes
Game Notes: Click here
Live Stream: The game will be broadcast on SportingKC.com and USLsoccer.com
Game-specific hashtag: #RNOvSPR
Swope Park Rangers
Reno 1868 FC