Pakorn (9) is still with us and is looking good pre-season. He will start on the right wing, so if new signing Suarez (4) is played as an attacking midfielder we can look forward to these two linking up. They played together at Police United and have looked good in the friendlies. Siwakorn (16) was stretchered off (well carried off as we didn’t have a stretcher) against Korat; hopefully this is only a minor injury. If match fit he’ll start in midfield where, with his pinpoint passes and sly football genius, he should be able to get the job done in T1. With no word of another foreign Asian signing it looks like Genki (18) is here to stay. Either Genki (18) or Ekkapoom (8) will probably be on the left wing. Genki (18) was consistently first choice left wing last season over Ekkapoom so it looks likely to stay that way. Both have tons of energy, but are they good enough to cut it in T1? I’m not sure. The PTT Rayong friendly saw Pinyo (21) play for about 20 minutes on the left wing. If he’s capable of playing there I think he’s a great option. At 23 he’s already had four caps for the Thai national team. He looked quality in the few games he played last year but is coming back after a full year away from the pitch.
Port don’t look like they have an out and out defensive midfielder. The twenty-year old Tachanon (27) from Army and Piyachat (28) have both played this role in most of the friendlies and I think Jadet will pick Tachanon(27) to start. Against Korat Jadet played a midfield five of :
Genki, Siwakorn, Suarez, (attacking), Tachanon (defensive), Pakorn.
I think he’ll start with this if Siwakorn (16) is fit. Tachanon (27) looks good but at twenty years old I’m not sure about starting him in the opening T1 games. I’d go with Piyachat(28) as he has a bit more experience. I just think he’s a safer choice and has featured most in the friendlies. I’d have Tachanon (27) on the bench as an option for half a game to see how they both handle the role in a full competitive game. Yingyong (??) is another option as a defensive midfielder, but is more likely to be on the bench. Yingyong (??) played for Chainat last season. Along with Nitipong (34) they make good options for utility midfield subs. Siwapong (??) could also be on the bench as a more attacking midfield sub.
Asdrubal has only played for 20 minutes against PTT, so it’s difficult to talk about him. Apparently he has picked up a slight strain, which is why he’s only had one full match runout. He can play right winger or up front, but I would be surprised to see anyone but Pakorn (9) starting on the right. This leaves him fighting it out with Suarez for the attacking midfield spot or with Kaludjerovic (10) up front.
The Maranhao mystery continues – is he still vying for a spot in the team? Might he stick around just for Cup competitions? I like him but his chances of staying in the team look remote with the other foreign signings already made. He scored both goals against Korat and looks like a player in there fighting for a team place. It’s possible he’s been offered good terms to stick around just for cup games and as cover for foreign player injuries. Wagner stayed with the team in the second half of last season and jumped back in the squad after Thiago left, so it is possible that’s an option he’s choosing.
Kaludjerovic (10), aka Kalu, has started the all the major friendlies we’ve played since he arrived at Port. He got two against Pattaya and one against PTT. When the tackles were going in thick and fast in the second friendly against Korat he was subbed off after ten minutes, possibly to protect him against any chance of an injury. He’s been scoring goals for fun in the Lithuanian league. And the way he was rushed off and wrapped in cotton wool in the Korat game, he looks like our first choice up front. As Rochela said, “you give him the ball in the box and he scores, can’t ask for more than that”. Thai National team backup striker Tana (5) is coming back from injury. He got five minutes at the end of the Korat game and encouragingly played 30 minutes against PTT. Tana (5) has always been a bit lacking in stamina . He’s often playing the first 50 minutes or the last 40. As long as he is happy with that we should be ok, but if fully fit he might get a bit tired of sitting on the bench.
With Captain Rochela assured a start and Genki the only Asian foreign player there are only two foreign playing spots left. Using the three other foreign players in the remaining two spots might well prove the biggest problem for Jadet. Which to choose? Probably a combination of all three in different games. None of these players is going to be happy as a permanent sub. Suarez has experience in Thailand, and he works well with Pakorn and Siwakorn as they all played together at Police United, so he is likely to be initially favored in the starting eleven.
This leaves Asdrubal and Kalu. Both have a great background. Asdrubal was playing for Las Palmas in the Copa del Rey this season. He’d just worked his way back into the main team but still wasn’t a first choice player. Kalu was banging in goals for fun in the wilderness of the Lithuanian league. When it comes to their careers they are chalk and cheese. Asdrubal was born and raised in Las Palmas and has been playing for Las Palmas F.C. since he was five; Kalu has had eight clubs in the last four years.
Asdrubal will not be happy on the bench – he came to Port to play football, after not getting enough time on the pitch at Las Palmas. If Kalu starts knocking goals in Asturbal will have to force his way into the midfield or settle for being a substitute striker. I think he has the quality to start but might be frozen out by the lack of foreign playing spots. Let’s hope Jadet can keep him give all three of them enough time on the pitch to keep them happy and play a successful game of musical chairs.