The Swope Park Rangers sign Ayrton Pinheiro Victor, Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming to MLS, highlights of the weekend action, plus Tim Melia and Roger Espinoza.
In today’s news roundup the Swope Park Rangers make a signing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks to make a move to MLS. We have highlights from the weekend’s games for Sporting Kansas City and the Swope Park Rangers. Tim Melia wins Save of the Week. Roger Espinoza is on the Team of the Week and a lot more.
In case you missed it Sporting KC broke their winless streak with a thriller against Orlando City. My wife had her own analysis of the game, mostly about Brek Shea’s terrible hair. The Swope Park Rangers also won over the weekend. FC Kansas City earned a draw against Chicago. Jen Buczkowski played her final game for the NWSL and FCKC but more importantly it highlights the NWSL’s retirement problem.
Swope Park Rangers Add Another Player
The Rangers have added Ayrton Pinheiro Victor, a Brazilian midfielder, to their roster. Ayrton came through the famous Corinthians’ Academy alongside fellow SPR member, Ualefi. Ayrton is an interesting signing because it appears he plays the same position as Kevin Oliveira (attacking midfield — think Benny Feilhaber) but is older than Oliveira (22-years-old versus 19.)
“We felt that we needed depth in the midfield position and we needed to bring more competition and options in the squad,” Swope Park Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos said. “Ayrton is an attacking midfielder with great qualities when the team is building play in the last third. He’s a young player that will be able to grow and develop in the club and we’re very happy to bring him in to our group.”
I wonder where this leaves Jordi Quintilla. Jordi wasn’t in the 18 against Tulsa over the weekend and could possibly be injured. There is no official injury report for the USL (that I can find), but SPR didn’t even dress 18 players. If Quintilla is staying out on loan, maybe he’ll be practicing the other midfield roles more often.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Moving to MLS?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic just finished his career at Paris Saint-Germain and is still only 34-years-old. If Didier Drogba has shown us anything, strikers can keep scoring goals well into their 30’s. There is talk of Ibra ending up at Manchester United or AC Milan but Sky is reporting it’s 90 percent certain he’ll end up with the LA Galaxy.
Now there are barriers in the way for this to happen. Obviously Ibra would be a Designated Player and LA already has the maximum of three. You may be thinking Stephen Gerrard is about to retire, but that slot has already be promised to Nigel de Jong. Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos occupy the other two slots. Keane is a scoring machine but has struggled to stay healthy and could be the odd man out.
Another problem is that the Philadelphia Union own Ibra’s Discovery Rights, so the Galaxy would need to go through Philly to make that signing. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if MLS just changes their rules again to help the Galaxy.
One other wrench is Carlos Bocanegra, former USMNT member and the Technical Director of expansion Atlanta United, went to Ibra’s last game at PSG. They could sure use a star, but my guess is Ibra wants to play for a likely winner and probably live in LA and not Atlanta.
If you were holding out hope that Sporting KC would somehow get Zlatan, don’t hold your breathe. Earlier this year CEO Robb Heineman said it wasn’t happening unless $14 million falls out of the sky.
Highlights of SKC and SPR
It was a great weekend for Sporting KC and their USL affiliate. If you weren’t able to catch the matches, we have the highlights.
Roger Espinoza — Man of the Match and Team of the Week
MLSSoccer.com put Roger Espinoza in the Team of the Week. The Orlando City game had to be a huge reason for that. He was all over the field disrupting plays and just generally causing havoc. He had several good runs into the box, out wide taking on defenders and also had that assist to Jacob Peterson. I would even say he was my Man of the Match, despite Peterson getting a goal and an assist. Overall, a very nice game for Roger.
More from Reporting KC
- Tim Melia won Save of the Week last week, despite Houston beating SKC 2-0 in that same game.
- The Portland Timbers signed former Sporting KC midfielder, Amobi Okugo.
- Round 2 of the US Open Cup is out. The USL teams have joined the frey, but the Swope Park Rangers aren’t eligible to play.
- Klinsmann released his USMNT roster for the upcoming friendlies and no MLS players are on the team as it’s not an international window.
- The United States and Mexico may make a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup.