Samut Prakan Pity: Samut Prakan City vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port travel to The M Power Stadium on Sunday looking to round off what has been a superb first leg. The opposition haven’t done too badly, either. Port sit in second place, just a point behind leaders Buriram, whilst Samut Prakan City, sit just 3 points and 2 places further adrift. A win would see them leapfrog Port in the table.

Unfortunately, the build up to this game has been dominated by a series of conflicting and confusing reports on the number and availability of tickets for away fans. We’re hearing that less than 600 will be available to Port fans, and that no extra space will be opened up once that allocation is inevitably sold out. If that is the case, Port fans wearing Port shirts will not be allowed to buy tickets for the home end, so to be sure of getting in one way or another come in neutral colours and be prepared to sit in one of the home sections. Also keep an eye out for further news, as things have already changed several times at the time of writing.

 

Samut Prakan City

SP Dons

 

Samut Prakan City have come in for a lot of stick since their owners uprooted Pattaya United and dropped them a hundred odd kilometers down the coast. Understandably so; The Dolphins’ fans, of which there were a sizable number, have been left club-less. Whilst I share the disdain many have expressed towards Samut Prakan City on social media for this reason, I think there’s more than one good reason to dislike T1’s latest homewrecker.

The M Power Stadium, in which Samut Prakan City are guests, has been home to Samut Prakan FC since 2016, but the club has been playing in Samut Prakan for about fifteen years. They have a small but loyal local fan base, turn out very attractive shirts year after year and have one of the better websites I’ve seen outside of T1, providing all of the information prospective Thai fans could wish for, as well as a forum for fans to share information, lyrics to the club’s songs and so on. Their fans are known as The Fortressians.

 

 

Samut Prakan FC have been as high as the second tier, but currently languish in T4. Their squad featured the Laotian national team captain in 2017, and they were a playoff win away from getting promoted. They ran in to JL Chiang Mai on that occasion, who went on to secure a further promotion in to T2 the next season.

Unfortunately the arrival of Super Power in their backyard in 2017 led to a decline in attendances which continued through 2018. I don’t have their attendance figures so far in 2019, but I’m going to guess the new boys in town throwing around free tickets on the streets of Bang Phli hasn’t helped. Samut Prakan United, another club founded about a decade ago, sank in to the regional leagues and ultimately out of existence last year.

The plight of small, friendly, well-run clubs like Samut Prakan FC are the lesser known victims of the regular comings and goings of clubs who are (if Wikipedia is to be believed) literally run by a country club. They’re actually run by a well-known *ahem* businessman, but people in glass houses and all that!

As Port fans, we all know the importance of a strong connection between the club and the fans in the local community. Clubs like Samut Prakan FC have that, and it’s a shame that when someone who sees the potential for a club in Samut Prakan can simply move their T1 license from one province to another, rather than investing in a well-established club with more than a decade of history.

Anyway, that’s my rant over. Let’s see what these MK Dons are all about.

 

Players to Watch

 

We start with our customary Brazilian. Ibson Melo (71) has been the key man in Samut Prakan’s attack all season, providing the spark and more importantly the goals. 7 of them so far this season. He’s not the tallest or the strongest, but from his position just behind the striker he has scored some key goals both from running at defenders and making late runs in to the box. Since Brazilian lump Carlao (83, who you probably don’t remember from an unremarkable stint at Ubon) has been let go The Sea Fang have had to make do with a Thai striker Chayawat Srinarong (55) ahead of the Brazilian maestro. He’s scored once in 12 appearances, proving for the 798th time that the level of Thai strikers in T1 is utterly appalling. Let’s just say he’s no Arthit. He’ll likely be replaced by Burmese forward Kyaw Ko Ko (10) later in the game. Don’t worry, Burmese strikers are rubbish too.

 

 

My secondary concern from this Samut Prakan team is Thai left winger Picha Autra (37). When I’ve seen this guy play his style has reminded me of Park Ji-sung. He’s slight of stature, but more than makes up for it with tireless harassing of full-backs. He’s not the most talented player you’ve ever seen, but he’s not half bad, and Nitipong should be advised not to try anything too fancy at the back with this fella nipping at his heels. He’s got 3 goals and 3 assists this season, which isn’t too shabby at all. Surprisingly, his return is bettered by attacking midfielder Teeraphol Yoryoei (19). He doesn’t look up to much on paper, and I haven’t particularly noticed him when I’ve watched them, but he must be doing something right.

 

 

The captain is the man who has got a lot of the recognition for this season’s surprise run to the upper reaches of the table. Peeradon Chamrasamee (8) has broken in to the Thai national team in recent months, making some late substitute appearances in central midfield. That shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s got all of the necessary Muangthong credentials. In 3 years with the scum he only managed 8 appearances though, being repeatedly loaned to Pattaya United before permanently signing this season. Peeradon is a very talented player, but I’m not too concerned about Samut Prakan outplaying or out-fighting Siwakorn and Go in the middle of the park.

 

 

They’ve got a pretty decent foreign centre half: Slovenian Aris Zarifovic (27). I didn’t think much of this guy from his early performances, but he’s adapted well to Thai football, winning almost everything in the air and taking an effective if at times agricultural approach on the deck. In short, he’s my kind of defender! Versatile Korean Kim Tae-Yeon (14) will also be a key man at the back, whether as part of the back 3 or in defensive midfield.

 

 

There isn’t a lot of individual talent to worry about here, but Samut Prakan’s strength this season has been continuity. They’ve basically picked the same team all season, and they haven’t had many injuries. Likely this will catch up with them later in the season, but for now they are a fit, well organized, cohesive unit with good team spirit, and they’ll take some beating.

On the plus side for Port, Samut Prakan’s over-performing coach Surapong Kongthep shocked the Thai football community by quitting his job at The Sea Fang a couple of weeks ago, meaning the main reason they have so far performed so well is no longer at the club. This wasn’t exposed against bottom club Suphanburi last time out, but could well be on Sunday.

 

Form

 

They’ve had 4 wins in their last 6 league outings, only losing against Bangkok United and drawing against Prachuap. All 4 wins were secured with clean sheets. Tidy.

  • Samut Prakan City 1-0 Chainat
  • Muangthong 0-3 Samut Prakan City
  • Samut Prakan City 1-1 Prachuap
  • Bangkok United 2-1 Samut Prakan City
  • Samut Prakan City 2-0 Korat
  • Suphanburi 0-1 Samut Prakan City

 

Port FC

A Dolah Short

 

The headline team news is that Port will be without Elias Dolah (4), with the big man having picked up his fourth yellow card of the season against Buriram. Go (8), who picked up a knock against Sukhothai, is expected to be fit to play, while Kevin (97) is also back training with the first team, although we’re not sure if he is match fit just yet.

 

 

This ought to mean that we see the same XI who started against Sukhothai, but with Todsapol (6) partnering Rochela (22) at the back in place of the man who hasn’t missed a minute of T1 action as yet this season. Jadet’s Rochela experiment, which comes up once or twice every year, once again failed against Buriram, with the Spaniard looking predictably out of place in midfield. Quite why the Spherical Supremo thought that he was going to do a better job in there than either Adisorn (13) or Anon (20), who were both available for selection, is beyond me. Still, it’s behind us now, and we can look forward to a return to normality, and with any luck a return to winning ways in the league.

 


 

The match will be shown live on True at 19:00 on Sunday 23 June, 2019. For those who can’t make it, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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