By: Caleb Hilliard
After their previous match was rescheduled, Memphis looks to keep their unbeaten streak alive at Swope Park Rangers.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Children’s Mercy Park.
The SP Rangers, with a record of 1-5-3, are having a less than ideal start to the season and sit 17th in the Eastern Conference standings.
Memphis already has two road wins and needs to obtain all three points from this road trip in order to continue their climb in the standings.
What to watch for: Swope Park Rangers
SPR picked up their first win of the season with a 3-2 home win against Louisville City FC. They lost four matches and drew two matches prior to the win.
After their win over Louisville, SPR were throttled 1-5 at Nashville SC. Most recently, SPR pulled off a gritty 1-1 draw at home against Atlanta United II.
The team has not struggled to score in matches with 13 total goals. Their biggest issue this season has been keeping the opposition from scoring.
SPR has conceded three or more goals in five of their nine matches, and 23 goals in total.
Offensively, Felipe Hernandez and Jerome Ngom Mbekeli are SPR’s impact players.
Hernandez has a team-high four goals and two assists through eight appearances. Mbekeli leads the team with 15 shots. He ranks second, with two goals and two assists.
Hernandez’s preferred position is in central midfield. He can beat players one v. one with his dribbling, and he is an accurate passer.
Mbekeli’s preferred position is on the left flank. He possesses speed and is dangerous when he has enough space to whip in crosses.
Overall, SPR should not be underestimated. They have a poor record but have shown signs of brilliance throughout the season.
What to watch for: Memphis 901 FC
The Memphis offense is looking better after a rough start to the season. They have five goals in their last three matches versus Louisville City FC, Birmingham Legion, and Hartford Athletic. They should continue their scoring streak against a shaky SPR defense.
Rashawn Dally was recalled to MLS-side FC Cincinnati on Wednesday. Dally played in every match this season so it will be interesting to see which forward(s) steps up to fill his role.
We could see new acquisition Lagos Kunga for the first time this USL season. The forward looked like a regular starter in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup win last week.
Jochen Graf is another forward that is prime for a breakout match. He has three starts this season and his USL experience will aid Memphis in road matches.