The Swope Park Rangers (4-16-7, 19 points) will put a two-game shutout streak on the line Saturday when they travel to face the Charlotte Independence (5-13-11, 26 points) in an Eastern Conference clash on Saturday night at the Sportsplex at Matthews in Matthews, North Carolina. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT with a live stream on ESPN Plus and additional in-game updates available via the USL Championship Match Center and @SwopeRangers on Twitter.
Led by second-year head coach and former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Paulo Nagamura, the Rangers earned a resolute 1-0 home win over North Carolina FC last Saturday at Children's Mercy Park for their second consecutive clean sheet. Sporting KC Academy products Jaylin Lindsey and Wilson Harris combined on the 58th-minute game-winner, the latter notching his sixth goal of the campaign and his third in five matches.
Lindsey, a 19-year-old right back on loan from Sporting, was named to the USL Championship Team of the Week on Tuesday after playing an influential role in each of SPR's last two contests. Having returned from a long-term knee injury earlier this summer, he delivered a pair of sterling backline performances as SPR claimed a 0-0 draw against the Charleston Battery last Wednesday before edging North Carolina FC three days later.
Under the guidance of Mike Jeffries, who took over June 12 after former boss Jim McGuinness was relieved of his duties, Charlotte are currently mired in a nine-game winless skid that has yielded just two points. The Independence went 4-0-2 in Jeffries’ first six games in charge but have hit a rut since then and currently find themselves seven points ahead of last-place SPR in the Eastern Conference standings.
Ghanaian forward Dominic Oduro, who amassed 63 goals in 346 MLS appearances from 2006-2018, has enjoyed a strong debut season in the USL Championship as Charlotte's leading scorer. The speedster has bagged seven goals, appearing in all but one of the club's 29 matches, while 39-year-old Colombian Jorge Herrera ranks second on the Independence scoring chart with six strikes of his own.
Both teams are likely to fall short of the USL Championship postseason, which will award playoff berths to the top 10 finishers in each conference. Their inaugural meeting took place on June 8 at Children's Mercy Park when the sides scraped to a scoreless stalemate that saw SPR's Adrian Zendejas and Charlotte's Brandon Miller earn shutouts between the posts.
USL Championship: Game 28 of 34
Date: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Sportsplex at Matthews (Matthews, North Carolina)
Swope Park Rangers: 4-16-7 (19 points, 18th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: Sporting Kansas City
Charlotte Independence: 5-13-11 (26 points, 14th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: None
ESPN+ Live Stream Link: Click here
USL Championship MatchCenter: Click here
Match Notes: Click here
Game-specific hashtag: #CLTvSPR
Swope Park Rangers