The Swope Park Rangers (1-8-5, 8 points) visit South Carolina at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday when they take on the Charleston Battery (5-3-6, 21 points) at MUSC Health Stadium. As always, the game will be streamed live on ESPN+, the USL Championship MatchCenter will have in-game updates and @SwopeRangers on Twitter will offer live play-by-play.
Second-year head coach Paulo Nagamura and the Rangers come into this match looking for a road result. They have secured two results in their last five matches and are trying to regain some momentum as the side approaches the midway point of the season. The Rangers still find themselves in 18th place but are only eight points off of the playoff line in a very congested Eastern Conference. There is still a lot of time left for SPR to turn things around and get back into the playoff mix.
In their last match, the Rangers suffered a 2-0 defeat on the road at the hands of North Carolina FC. North Carolina bagged both goals in the first 13 minutes and that was it for the scoring. Despite SPR having possession for over 60 percent of the game, they were unable to find the back of the net. Goalkeeper Eric Dick was outstanding in this one, making six saves—including an impressive reflex stop that is up for USL Championship Save of the Week for Week 15.
Rangers fans, our very own Eric Dick is up for @USLChampionship Save of the Week for this awe-inspiring stop! Use the link below to vote for @DaBrickWall00.— Swope Park Rangers (@SwopeRangers) June 18, 2019
🗳️ → https://t.co/sXBHtMkkYv pic.twitter.com/dfPqEHvCYx
Sporting KC Academy product Felipe Hernandez still leads all Rangers with five goals. He remains a lethal weapon in the midfield and has proven he can score from distance. Wilson Harris is another standout Academy product and ranks second on the team alongside Jerome Ngom Mbekeli with two goals. Brazilian left back Alexsander continues to be an assists machine. He has five so far and routinely serves fantastic crosses into the box when he gets forward. Hernandez, Mbekeli and Killian Colombie all have two assists.
Mike Anhaeuser is still at the commander for the Battery and has been since 2005. Among active coaches, he is the longest-tenured manager of any major professional soccer club in the world. Anhaeuser and the Battery have accumulated 21 points so far, good enough for eighth place in the Eastern Conference of the USL Championship. In their last five matches, Charleston has one win, two losses and two draws. They have not lost a game at home so far, posting a 4-0-4 record. Last time out, the Battery drew 1-1 with the first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium in Florida.
Charleston two goal scorers with four goals. Froward Zeiko Lewis has four goals in 10 appearances, while teammate and fellow forward Ian Svantesson has four goals in just nine appearances. Arthur Bosua, also a forward, has put the ball in the back of the net three times in 12 appearances. Three Battery players lead the team in assists with two: Lewis, midfielder Kotaro Higashi and defender O’Brian Woodbine.
The Rangers have served as a vital stop along Sporting Kansas City’s professional pathway this season. Against North Carolina FC, five Sporting KC loanees and five Academy products earned minutes. Hernandez and defender Camden Riley made their return to the Rangers after they were available off the bench for Sporting KC’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match with Minnesota United last Wednesday.
Fans will want to keep an eye out for Riley (one goal) on Saturday. He has started both on the backline and in the midfield for the Rangers and has totaled over 1,000 minutes this season, occasionally wearing the captain’s armband.
Another other player to watch is defender Mark Segbers (one goal, one assist), who is the only Ranger to feature in every single match. He leads the team with 1,187 minutes played and provides excellent width going forward. Look for him to get into the attack and try to make something happen for the Rangers in this contest.
USL Championship: Game 15 of 34
Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: MUSC Health Stadium (Charleston, South Carolina)
Live Stream: ESPN+
Swope Park Rangers: 1-8-5 (8 points, 18th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: Sporting Kansas City
Charleston Battery: 5-3-6 (21 points, 8th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: None