Saigon Raiders Club

After a relaxing Tet holiday for most, the club lined up an all Raider’s clash for some much-needed fitness and match practice as we’re about to enter the business end of the season.

As the reds and whites warmed up under the blazing sun it was clear that it was not going to be a walk in the park for either team. First team places were up for grabs. Personal scores to be settled. All bets were off on.

The opening 15 was a close affair, Chris Van Hagen linking with the front line well to try and unlock the white’s defense. Despite the creativity the reds failed to capitalize, and the ref eventually succumbed to some theatricals by Hogg to see the first attempt. Free kick. High and wide. As the half progressed the whites were impenetrable, Jonas Hoener with a couple of headers on target not enough to break the deadlock thanks to some cat-like reaction saves by David. Not just a pretty face. Deep into the 1/3 the ref judged Nayan to have brought down his man for a penalty. Up steps Jonas with his best Diana Ross impersonation. 0-0.

As the ref blew the whistle to start the second third, I seemed like both teams left their spirit in the locker room. The match regressed from an exciting and interesting game to a lame kick around until the coach decided that something needed to change. Micky got subbed in for Sven. He took the ball ran through the whole yet sleeping reds defense and scored. 1:0 whites- stunned faces everywhere. Afterwards the reds seemed to have more control over the game but couldn’t quite get the ball behind the line (shot Chris, header Jonas, shot Hoggy,…) You can argue if it was a stroke of genius or pure luck, but the substitution of Ben and bringing Aaaron onto the pitch brought the change everybody was craving for. It was his presence alone that made James or Johnny or Sven loose the ball in midfield and made the reds, after a nice combination from Jonas over Chris to Emma, score the so much desired equalizer. Shortly after this combinatorial masterpiece, the white’s spirit was broken, so that they soon received another goal. It was no other than red’s Man of the Match Aaaaron who (probably) passed the ball out to the right winger who then passed the round leather to Patrick who finished with a beautiful long distance shot. Not unsaveable for white’s goalkeeper David who was not delivering his peak performance throughout the whole match ;-*. This match gave the coach some opportunities to try out maybe a new formation, tactic or different position for certain player. Most honorable mention regarding new possibilities was Scotty. Usually one of our most reliable center backs or right/left backs (I don’t know somewhere in defense) got his change to apply for the position as a playmaker. the new star of the team? The new number 10? Apparently the coach didn’t think so and put him back to his usual place — after 10 min.

After the 2nd third-time the whites regained a bit of their will to fight and the reds lost a little bit of their edge. So after Mikey go subbed in again, he scored again to set the final result. 2:2

All in all, the fans saw an average football match played under really challenging conditions (feet burning, vultures circling the pitch waiting for somebody to drop). The final result seems to leave some questions open: Who was better? Who did good? Who should quit playing?

Since we’ll have another weekend to practice before the league starts again, there won’t be a mountain high enough, no valley low enough and no river wide enough to keep us from continuing to train and work hard to achieve the goals we set at the beginning of the season!

Become a Saigon Raider

Become a Saigon Raider