Saigon Raiders Club

Slip Ups Against Sporting

The first game back after the holidays didn’t prove to be one of the best from Raiders. The starting squad consisted of Mirko in nets, with Pete, Olly, Jerry, and Ohashi in the back. The midfield saw Craig and Sipho out wide, with Edwin and Mick holding down the middle of the park. Up front, Aron and Nico started out as our strikers. Subs available were Ben Sharvell, Danny Vo, Luke, Nicolas, Rick, and Collin.

Raiders started out slow and lackluster, seeing Sporting control more of the possession, having more opportunities to have a go on net. Our positioning all around was pretty poor the first 20 minutes of the match. About 15 minutes in, Sporting scored a goal off a corner kick. Lack of communication and a bit of disorganized marking allowed a Sporting player to nod one in the net.

After this, Raiders made a few subs. Rick went out wide right, and Luke on the left. Nicolas went into the middle of the park and Ben Sharvell up top. Danny Vo came on at left back, seeing Ohashi move to right back, and Collin went in at center back.

An immediate change in play was evident, as Raiders started to settle down a bit and knock the ball around. We clearly controlled the second part of the first half.

Before you knew it, the ball was played into a streaking Rick. The lithe Dutchman proceeded to deuce a few players, cleanly slotting it into the back of the net. Raiders held strong until the half ended.

We started the second half with the same team that finished the first. Not far into the second half, Collin’s excessive water intake ALMOST made him lose his lunch. Coach Colin called for a quick sub, swapping Jerry in for the overly hydrated American. Not long after, an ankle injury put Olly out for the rest of the match, seeing the rejuvenated American come back on at center back with Jerry.

Not long after, the back line was not quick enough to clear out as a unit, and their forward got in between the center backs and nodded in a cross. Mirko nearly saved it, only getting his fingertips to the ball as it flew into the top corner of the goal. 2-1 Sporting.

Less than five minutes later, a nice piece of possessive play in the midfield from Sporting saw the same forward played in, besting Collin for pace and netting their third goal. 3-1 Sporting.

For the remainder of the half, dejected from two quick goals, Raiders failed to possess the ball long enough to work it into the final third, having very few chances on goal.

All in all, Raiders need to play with more conviction when doing anything on the pitch. We need to settle and play, and look for the simple options around us, as opposed to difficult low probability long passes. We also need to find a way to allow ourselves more chances in the final third of the field, which then enables us to score more goals. Anticipation goes a long way. We are a great team of footballers who have not played to our potential this season. Communication needs to be better all around, from the keeper all the way forward to the strikers.
There could have been more patience from the forwards, a tad bit more creativity from the midfield, and more communication and unity in the back four.

We are at a crucial point in the season, fellas. The league is still tight, so we simply must make the most out of all potential points from here on. Let’s get everything out of training, and come out chomping at the bits in the next few matches. Most teams will downplay us based on our past performances, so let’s use this to our advantage to smash everyone we come up against. Let us all have complete confidence in our own play, as well as each other. I know we will come out on top from here on out.

Have faith and confidence.
Keep after it, lads.
Maraud on, RAIDERS!

Yours truly,

Collin Owens

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