Playing Ratch-up: Ratchaburi FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port face their worst crisis this season, having suffered their third loss on the trot last Sunday. Before we get too down on ourselves though, it’s also worth pointing out that it’s our only crisis this season. Port had enjoyed the best start to a season in recent memory, and until just three matches ago, were top of T1. Having been beaten by champs Buriram – predictably if you weren’t getting swept away with the unlikely predictions that we would be champions – the next loss against high-flying Samut Prakan hurt more, and the third against a particularly objectionable Chiang Rai side more still. But remember, all three of these sides are currently in the top 4. Yes, we lost 3 consecutive games, but it’s not the end of the world. We’re not going to be champions, but an AFC place is very much still within our reach.

Unfortunately, me trying to urge the Sandpit readers to remain calm isn’t going to help if the Port management are themselves throwing a fit. We’ve talked repeatedly on this site of the Maranhao Scale, a scale used to measure the stupidity of transfer dealings. If our sources are to be believed, Port may well be about to crush it like Jadet stepping on kitchen scales with a 30 kilo limit. We’ve already benched one of the most highly paid players in T1 and replaced him with a bloke who scored a lot of goals… in T2.

If I can remind you what gave you the Maranhao Scale its’ name, it was when Port dropped Kaludjerovic and brought Maranahao in to the squad for one game, before promptly swapping them back, thereby using up their two-transfer limit on foreigners. Maranaho was then sold, and soon after Kalu broke contract and left. That’s the bench mark. Could we soon be talking about the Boskovic scale? We’ll know soon enough, if either Rolando Blackburn or Nicolas Orsini show up at training, and Josimar is relegated to the… training squad? Is that a thing? Well, it could be if either of these South American forwards, who have apparently piqued the interest of Port management, are brought in at the eleventh hour.

Still, none of this is going to effect Port’s squad for the upcoming trip to Ratchaburi, so I’ll shut up and move on to more immediate concerns: Saturday’s opposition.

 

Ratchaburi FC

Transfer Dealings

 

They’ve been busy in this transfer window, making some potentially very good signings. There is a very clear philosophy at the heart of these moves: attack, attack, attack. Our favourite not-moustachioed Korean boo boy Kang Soo-il has surprisingly departed, but been replaced by two foreign attackers: Ivorian winger Lossemy Karaboue (18) and Filipino striker Javier Patino (20). Taking Kang’s AFC quota spot is versatile former Buriram player Yoo Jun-soo (16), while Karaboue’s arrival means that Brazilian defender Dirceu has to make way. That’s two strikers replacing one, and a versatile midfielder replacing a centre back. How’s Sompong going to get in to the team now?!

 

Players to Watch

 

The main man on the scoresheet so far has been Yannick Boli (90) with 7 goals, but I’ve been more impressed with Steeven Langil (11), who has 6. Langil has playing mostly playing on the left wing, and he’s been embarrassing hapless Thai fullbacks all season with quick feet and devastating surges of pace. Fortunately Port have one of the best Thai full backs in the league, but Nitipong will have to be on top form if he’s going to limit the number of chances created from Port’s right.

 

 

On the other flank will be Philip Roller (33). When he’s been used at full back, Roller has rightly been given a lot of stick for his defending, but now operating as a wing back, he has less defensive responsibility and can get forward more. He’s picked up five assists so far this season, which is very useful indeed. Roller wasn’t in the matchday squad last week, and he wasn’t suspended, so there’s a possibility he might miss out through injury.

 

 

Yoo Jun-soo (16) has only made one appearance for The Dragons, but I can tell you already that he’ll do an excellent job for Ratchaburi however they choose to use him. He was at Buriram last season, where he played everywhere from attacking midfield to centre back, and did a top job regardless. I expect to see him in central defence, but don’t be surprised if he pops up in attacking positions too.

 

 

They’ve also got one of the better ASEAN players around in Amin Nazari (8). Much like Kevin Deeromram, Nazari made his bones in Sweden before being picked up by Ratchaburi. He’s represented Sweden at youth level, but has now made the switch to the Filipino national team. He’s a solid presence in midfield, and has a decent final ball going forward.

 

 

Form

 

They’re the anti-Sukhothai. Just one indecisive result all season. The last 6 have seen an even split of 3 wins and 3 losses, with all 3 wins featuring clean sheets, while Ratchaburi themselves were scoreless in all 3 losses.

  • Chainat 0-3 Ratchaburi
  • Chonburi 1-0 Ratchaburi
  • Ratchaburi 3-0 Suphanburi
  • Bangkok United 2-0 Ratchaburi
  • Ratchaburi 0-1 Prachuap
  • Trat 0-1 Ratchaburi

 

Port FC

Must-win

 

Port will be without Siwakorn (16) for this crucial game, with the Thin White Duke finally getting his fourth booking against Chiang Rai. Kevin (97) is also unavailable for selection, having aggravated his injury. Reportedly, he’s set to miss the next three months. Port’s transfer dealings have readied them for such emergencies, though. National team defensive midfielder and new signing Tanaboon (71) will likely step in to replace Siwakorn, perhaps giving Go (8) some more freedom to venture forward. Meanwhile, Filipino national team regular and even newer signing Martin Steuble (15), pictured below, could come in to replace Kevin, although knowing how much Jadet likes Panpanpong (19) that’s far from a certainty.

 

 

For the moment Josimar (30) hangs on to his place in the squad, although if he doesn’t score and look like a top T1 striker this weekend, the rumour mill suggests he may well not last the transfer window. Come on Josi, for everyone’s sake bang in a couple of goals!

For the rest of the players it’s a case of getting back to doing what we’ve done so well for most of the season. Scoring goals and winning games. That’s Jadet’s formula in all its complexity, and usually it’s enough to beat the likes of Ratchaburi. Fingers crossed!

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sports 2 and True Sports HD2 at 20:00 on Saturday 6 July, 2019. For those who can’t make it to Mitrphol Stadium, 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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