Bad vs. Worse: Port FC vs. Rayong FC Preview

 

It’s that time of year again. After foolishly holding out hope that Port might be reinvigorated by a trip to the SCG, there is no longer any room for doubt that Port are deep in to our traditional mid-season slump. Five winless games is troubling enough, but two of those results – the 0-2 loss against Police and the goalless draw with Trat – came against poor teams who were themselves struggling.

So what do Port need in order to start looking like the team who were challenging for the title just a few weeks ago? Well, the easiest fixture on the calendar might be just the ticket. Port may be winless in 5, but Sunday’s opponents Rayong have lost 7 on the bounce. Port may have failed to find the back of the net twice in our last 5 league games, but Rayong have failed to score in 6 of their last 7.

That’s not to say we’re not capable of accommodating an upset. When we’re bad we’re really bad, and Rayong have beaten a couple of half decent sides this season. So let’s see who we should be looking out for in opposition colours.

 

Rayong FC

Players to Watch

 

At the back they’ve recently brought in English centre back Adam Mitter (6). Having played non-league football in England, Mitter has gone on to tour some of the world’s least fashionable leagues: a semi-professional club in Australia, an Indian third tier outfit and a handful of teams in the Philippines. And those are just the highlights; he’s gone through 16 teams in his 10 year career. I believe ‘well-travelled’ is the appropriate euphemism. Since arriving in Thailand. It’s taken Mitter precisely 4 games to get 4 T1 yellow cards and get himself suspended, but he’ll most likely be back in action against Port. Boli will be quaking in his boots.

 

 

In midfield they’ve got a Japanese fella who has actually played to a good level in Thailand. Several years ago. He’s now 34. Goshi Okubo (40) has still got some tricks up his sleeve, though. He fired in an absolutely audacious strike from the centre circle as well as a well-struck penalty in their 2-3 loss to Chiang Rai last week, proving that he’s still got something to offer at this level.

 

 

There’s not a lot else to talk about in terms of attacking options. The magnificently named Agaldisio Pitbull (10) is comfortably the pick of the bunch, but he’s been out for a few weeks, while fellow Brazilian Bruno Paulo (36) looks thoroughly unremarkable. In the bits of highlights I’ve caught, Mehti Sarakham (92) has been the only other bright spark. He’s quick, likes to run with the ball and could cause us some problems. Although he hasn’t managed a goal or an assist this season. So his end product might need a little work.

 

 

Form

 

It’s ugly for both sides, but Rayong’s results are truly noteworthy for how bad they’ve been. They’ve scored in only one of their last seven games. Having said that, they did find the net twice last week, before only losing by a single goal against league leaders BG. It would be a stretch to describe them as ‘coming in to form’, but the way we’re playing any sort of performance from the opposition could be enough to secure a result at the PAT.

 

Port FC

On The Way Oud

 

In my last preview I touched on a few players who I thought needed to be dropped. They weren’t, and we were so poor at times against Muangthong that I’ve added to my list. Nitipong (34) has really regressed this season, and desperately needs a rest. Thitawee (2) is the only natural replacement, and he looked unreliable earlier this season, but could be worth a try.

Dolah (4) is suspended having picked up his fourth yellow on Wednesday, and the way he’s been playing since returning from injury that’s probably a good thing. Worawut (24) has continued to look decent at the back, but who knows who will be partnering him on Sunday. Todsapol (6) was the only centre back on the bench last week, so he’s probably the best bet. Let’s hope he lasts the 90 minutes.

Steuble (15) continues to look well below his best, and with their being far more value in attacking rather than defending full backs against Rayong, Jaturapat (21) should really be getting a run-out.

In midfield Siwakorn (16) hasn’t looked awful, but we need to instil a sense of competition among our squad, and rotation is one way to go about that. Kanarin (31) is the most deserving of a start in my book, but again I’ll take any old fresh legs at this point. Youngster Tawin (14) was on the bench against MTU. Give him a go.

Tanasith (11) was rotated in on Wednesday, which I was happy to see, but he didn’t do himself any favours on the pitch. Looking dangerous and failing to provide end product can only get you so far, and with plenty of other options on the wings, it’s likely that Port will give someone else a go on Sunday. Pakorn (7), who came off the bench only to balloon a shot in to the carpark, is one option, while Adisak (9) could also start wide on the right. My preferred selection would be Nattawut (45), but for whatever reason he is only being used as an impact sub.

Up top we’re in that spot we find ourselves in almost every year. We’ve signed one of the top-scorers in the league only for him to struggle in front of goal. Boli (94) is at least still contributing with some solid all-around centre forward play, but it would help if he also converted chances when they come his way. Suarez is doing his best to provide opportunities, but looks a little frustrated at the minute. Whether it’s his teammates, the officials or at times himself getting in his way, he isn’t quite firing on all cylinders at the moment.

The way things have gone I’d be very surprised indeed if Port are not in the process of finding someone else who is willing to take the blame when the team that is picked for them loses. Coach Oud had an exceptional start, but has hit the same bump in the road as all of his predecessors, so despite Mme Pang’s recent comments to the media, which could also be described as the dreaded vote of confidence, Oud looks very much to me like a dead man walking. To be honest I’m surprised how well he’s done and how long he’s lasted.

 


 

The match will be shown live on Channel 5 and AIS Play. Kick off is at 18:00. 

 

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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