My first trip to historic Komazawa stadium to see Team Green play the Mighty Mikans of Ehime. Komazawa is a neat old stadium with the flat benches in the stands and the running track. It really reminded me of some the old stadiums I used to play (well.......watch) football in for high school. Only 4,196 in attendance for the game today. I thought for sure Ehime would have more of a presence but it looked like they only had 40 or 50 ULTRAS in the supporter section. I couldn't get a picture of it but they did have cool cartoon renderings of each player on the team.
The other thing that stood out was the cool orange and blue uniforms with the blue and white racing stripes. I hope they keep the pattern for a long time.
GK 1 Keisuke Hada
DF 15 . Ryota Moriwaki 5. Shingo Hoshino 7.Tomoya Kanamori 23. Hideto Inoue
MF 17. Kiyotaka Ishimaru 25. Yojiro Takahagi 27. Minoru Suganuma 8. Kazuhisa Hanaoka
FW 19. Yuya Nagatomi 33. Toshiya Tanaka
Subs 3 Kenichi Yagara (15 min-Ishimaru), 24 Yuki Tamura (60 min-Tanaka), 22 Hirokazu Otsubo (82 min-Nagatomi)
DF 3-Fujita, 2-Hagimura, 4-Togawa, 6-Sugawara
MF 22-Kina, 11-Ono, 7-Ohashi, 10-Anailson
FW 25-Hiramoto, 9-Basilio
Subs 8-Nagai (Halftime-Ohashi), 5-Dedimar (55 min-Hagimura), 39-Masaki Saito (65 min-Basilio)
Another new lineup for Verdy.......no Yanagisawa (at all) and no Kanazawa (he was on the bench). Honestly, their play warranted the change. Kina is the only one with any energy to start. the first ten minutes of the match, Verdy controls play. They have most of the possesion but can't crack the disciplined back 4 of Ehime. At the 15th minute, Ehime has an unfortunate bit of bad luck when their anchor in the midfield, Kiyotaka Ishimaru, goes down with a leg injury. Ehime is forced to sub early in a position they were probably counting on being stable throughout the game. Ironically, Ehime picked up the pace and started fighting back, forcing some corners and having decent opportunities in the box.
The real problem with Ehime is they are built in a similar fashion to Yokohama FC, fairly decent in the back but possesing no real skill in the front. The forwards had a couple of good chances but weren't able to put anything away. Verdy's backline was more effective than in the past couple of games..........I think this could be a decent back 4 if Ramos lets them have some continuity. Kina is really helping settle things down as well. He had a good game defensively but his ball handling was sloppy and he held onto the ball too long. He was a vast improvement over the innefective Kanazawa.
The first half ends........reaaaaaaaaaaaaaly slow game......no flow, lots of unforced errors. You can see the Ehime philosophy of boxing in and sending one guy on a breakaway from long passes. There's no real plan on offense but Verdy is falling into their game. I'm a little worried that Verdy is not really dictating any of the flow, better teams like Consadole and Kashiwa are going to pick them apart.
The second half begins, and an innefective Ohashi is pulled for the Grand Old Man of Verdy.......Hideki Nagai. Surprisingly, Nagai comes out with some fire and gets some possesions of the ball. He really made some things happen. At this time I'm sitting behind the bench, Kanazawa is just watching the game and Ramos yells at him to warm up. I would be a bit surprised to see him with the first team next week......I think he's gonna find himself lost in the mix. Hagimura goes down in minute 55 and the fabulous Dedimar comes charging in. Huzzah!
Big Dedi is taking most of the free kicks for Verdy.........they're nice kicks, good curves but they look more like shots and not really passes. He's also a bit rough in defense......Ehime goes after him and has a couple of nice chances.
Basilio is pulled in the 65th minute for Masaki Saito. I was hoping he would get a chance, and was very happy that it was him and not Iio on the bench today. Basilio (and Anailson for that matter) looked tired and couldn't get anything going at all. Basilio had a couple of soft shots but nothing special. I have to give Rui some credit, he called a nice game. Saito and Hiramoto are getting a bit frustrated out there......the mids are having a poor offensive game and killing every breakaway chance possible, especially Ono. I'm not sure what's going on with Ono or why he's the captain........he's been less than impressive, getting unnecessary cards and playing sloppy. Finally in the 80th minute, Saito gets the ball in a position he likes. Instead of attacking, he pulls the ball back, making the defender run past him. He puts a sweet cross in front of the goal to the wide open Nagai who zings it past Hada. 1-0 VERDY
The last ten minutes saw the Orangemen pick up the attack on the Buzzards. At one point Dedimar ran into Kina, allowing an Ehime attacker to streak by and take a shot that completely missed everything in the stadium. At times, this game resembled your average 3rd grade Y league soccer match.......with every kid making a pile around the ball. Mizuhara made a couple of nice saves after the D started to break apart.
Game over.......1-0 VERDY........back up to third behind Kashiwa and Mito (teams I picked to finish 8th and 10th respectively).
3. Hiroki Mizuhara- It's hard to judge him because the forwards were really subpar for Ehime, but Mizuhara cleaned up everything his way and didn't beat the team with a mistake........nice effort.
2. Nagai/Saito- Both subs gave a bit of energy to a lackluster squad. The goal was beautiful and made the game worth seeing. Well.....not really, but it was a nice goal!
1. Rui Ramos- He made the right calls all game......starting with Kina and Fujita for Yanagisawa and Kanazawa. Dedimar wasn't great but Nagai and Saito were. The team looks tired right and could've easily dropped the game after not being able to create much, but they didn't and that has to be partly because of the coach.
I think this team needs a break after 4 games in a 2 week span. they look sluggish. There also needs to be a little more continuity in the lineup. There were alot of communication breakdowns, especially in the midfield. Against a better squad, Verdy would have lost. I also think the team is relying on older members alot more. That's a little troubling because they're starting to show fatigue. It's gonna be nasty in August.
SIESTA! They have a BYE for the midweek match. The 25th will be a match in Yamagata against the 12th place Montedio Yamagata. I will not be able to watch but I'll try to piece together a report.