All-time regular season series: First match
A pair of unbeaten clubs will meet up this weekend as San Antonio FC (1-0-0, 3pts) hosts Swope Park Rangers (2-0-0, 6pts) in the home opener for the Alamo City boys. The hosts opened up their USL account in convincing fashion, earning a 3-0 away win at Seattle with FW Jason Johnson scoring a brace in the first 10 minutes. SAFC's next opponent looks to be a tougher match and will test head coach Darren Powell's squad.
MLS' Sporting Kansas City's (SKC) USL affiliate, Swope Park Rangers (SPR), are coming off back-to-back wins to start off their inaugural season. Both of their matches have been 2-1 decisions against Portland Timers 2 and on the road visiting the Tusla Roughnecks. All four of the Rangers goals have come from different players as they have been able to spread the goal-scoring wealth around - something that will give San Antonio's defense plenty to focus on as they prepare this week.
Of some interest:
Two of the starting XI for Swope Park will be familiar faces to San Antonio fans. GK Jon Kempin and FW Kris Tyrpak both played for the former San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL. Kempin was on loan from SKC to start the 2015 season but only started a couple games before returning to SKC in May. Tyrpak joined the club in October for the final month of NASL play from former USL club, the Austin Aztex, who are on hiatus for 2016. Tyrpak's goal scoring prowess is known to San Antonio fans - he scored two goals in his first two games with the Scorpions.
Q & A with Thad Bell of the SB Nation blog The Blue Testament:
Alamo Soccer: What has been the fan response to Swope Park? Are supporters mainly SKC cross-overs? Or is it attracting a different supporter demographic?
Thad: With only one home game so far (and SKC season ticket members received free tickets) it is a little hard to tell. It appears that SPR's fan base will be a mix. Some SKC fans for sure, some that were priced out of regular season tickets and some that will just be SPR fans. Another bonus for SPR is that they play on the opposite side of the city. Children's Mercy Park is in the north west corner and Swope Park is more central east.
Alamo Soccer: How is success defined for Marc Dos Santos? Players that move to MLS? Or league titles?
Thad: Dos Santos' job is not easy, he has several mandates. Provide a spot for first team players to get time when needed, have a supply of players ready to be called up and help develop Sporting Academy players. On top of all that is to have a winning culture. It might be okay to not win all the titles but it will not be okay to have a poor record at all.
Alamo Soccer: Swope Park's attack seems strong, all 4 of the goals scored this season have come from different players. San Antonio fans will be familiar with former Scorpion Tyrpak, who/what makes this attack effective?
Thad: You are right, they are capable of spreading it around for sure. First take a look at how they are prepared, Swope Park will play a style that closely resembles Sporting KC. A base 4-3-3 that presses hard to create turnovers. Having the close ties to the first team was a big attraction for several players (and Dos Santos). All time leading USL scorer Dane Kelly, Kris Tyrpak and several others came for that very reason. Those experienced players were bolstered with young talent also looking for opportunities like Kevin Oliveira . Add on two Sporting Academy signings, 18 year-old Nansel Selbol and 19 year-old Daniel Salloi have both scored off the bench already this year.
The team has a clear style/method of play from the first team
Keys to the game:
San Antonio will again look to its defense to shutdown the attack of Rangers. If the back line of San Antonio can contain the multiple attack of SPR, the home squad will have a great chance of winning in front of the home crowd.
Continue to spread the wealth, that should be the mantra for SPR. If they can continue to create chances for a variety of players, it might be a long night for the Alamo City boys.
This should be a great match-up at Toyota Field! The sell-out crowd will be excited to see their team play at home for the first time this season. Another win for the Alamo City boys will be well earned, but a draw might be the ultimate outcome.
A big thanks to Thad Bell for answering some questions for us on our next opponent! You can reach Thad on Twitter @TheBackpost and read his posts on The Blue Testament.
The game is this Saturday, April 9th at 7:30pm CST. #SAvSPR
How to watch:
San Antonio FC & the USL
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