HANOI – Showing he deserved to be a starter, Patrick Reichelt led from the front as a sub in the Philippine men’s football team’s 4-1 win over Laos in their Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup opener on Saturday at the My Dinh National Stadium.
The 26-year-old winger, a regular starter, came off the bench and played less than 30 minutes, but played well enough to lead the Azkals in scoring with a brace.
Although “a bit disappointed” at being left by coach Thomas Dooley out of the starting XI, Reichelt stressed that the victory, which moved the Filipino booters on the verge of a third straight semifinal berth, was all that matters.
“Every player wants to start, obviously. Every player is a bit disappointed if he’s not starting,” he said back at the team hotel. “But I was cheering with my full heart. Then I said to myself, 'If I was going to come in, I was going to give my one-hundred percent.' That’s all I can do, try to convince the coach and try to use my time.
“And I thought I did a good job,” the Filipino-German standout added. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about the win.”
Reichelt came on in the 65th minute for Mark Hartmann, whose recent hot streak came to an end.
“He’s a great finisher, but he was a bit unlucky,” Dooley said of Hartmann. “So we went to Patrick and he was right there.”
“Everybody who comes in needs to be better than the one who’s coming out or maybe at least as good as him, otherwise, why should I take him out?”
“And it (decision to field Reichelt) was worth it,” the German-American mentor was quick to add.