Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Tale of Two halves

Day 1 of the Ramos regime is officially in the books and the end result was a highly satisfying 4-1 victory. The result however belies the fact that for the most part, it was a relatively hard fought and close match.

Let's start from the beginning, shall we? I was expecting a much bigger crowd when I got to historic National Stadium at around 1pm (kickoff was at 2) considering the article that said Verdy had pre-sold 15,000+ for the opening of the J2 campaign. Silly me for believing that spin (Truth be told, I believed the whole Maric to Omiya, and WMD's in Iraq, and that Britney Spears was a virgin stories that popped up in the past..........I just wanna believe). The actual attendance was a little over 7,500 people. I'm guessing people weren't happy about J2.

Starting lineups were announced with a few surprises........No Morimoto (school?), No Dedimar, and one Mr. Dandelion Takagi sitting on the bench instead of in between the pipes for team green. The rest of the lineup was the usual cast of characters, with Basilio and Hiramoto up front, Ohashi, Kanazawa,Ono, and Nagai in the middle, and Fujita, Hagimura, Togawa, and Yanagisawa in back.

Tokushima Vortis countered with a 4-5-1 with Torashi Shimazu in goal, Ryosuke Amo, Yohei Taniike, Kensaku Omori, and Yuki Fuji in the back 4. Former Verdian Jun Tamano led a 5 man midfield containing Koji Kataoka, Yuki Ishida, Yuya Hikichi, and Noriaki Tsutsui. Striker Toshiaki Haji was the lone striker up top.


From the beginning, Tokushima Vortis took it to the buzzards, controlling the midfield and pushing the ball into Verdy territory for much of the first half. the breakdowns were reminiscent of last years porous defensive backfield. Jun Tamano was a man possesed, going for the ball constantly and outrunning the Verdy midfield and D. He was especially hard on Nagai, making their battle into a personal vendetta. Maybe it was a case of nerves at the start, but the midfield was being badly outplayed by Vortis. Hiramoto showed some early flashes and Basilio, in a glimpse of things to come, weaved in and out of Vortis defenders with a skill and precision that is rarely seen in J1, much less J2. Unfortunately, they couldn't get any good touches.

Vortis had some early chances, but their problem was the lack of a finisher. Ishida had an isolation on the keeper, a perfect look at the net, and time and completely missed the target. Between him and Tsutsui, there were at least 4 good chances for goals that they just choked on. Finally, in the 23rd minute, Vortis Captain Kataoka took the ball on the far baseline and curved a tricky shot off of Mizuhara for a beautiful goal that just handcuffed the Verdy keeper. Nagai soon followed it up with the first yellow card of the match. Vortis really kept the pressure going until the 40th minute, when Jun Tamano got a breakaway, tripped in the box and was called for diving......from my angle, there was contact and feet were tangled. Tamano didn't really make a show out of it but still got the yellow card. I think a no call would've been fine in this instance but the ref decided otherwise. It seemed to take a little bit out of Tamano and Vortis soon started to crack a bit.

The start of stoppage time saw Verdy capitalise on a free kick from midfield. Shin Kanazawa, who was otherwise useless most of the day, put a beautiful free kick into a crowd of people in front of the Vortis net. The slightly more effective DF Hagimura, put his head on the ball and willed it in. Tie score, and Verdy is alive once again.


I don't know what Ramos said or did in the dressing room at halftime, but it seemed to put a fire under the squad. Out went Nagai, and in came Anailson, who doesn't look like an athlete at all..........he kind of reminded me of somebody's father when I was a kid. He's really small, but very fast. Anailson really got the tempo going in Verdy's favor. The big green were quickly taking back possesion and forcing the issue. About 9 minutes in to the second half, Anailson ran out on a breakaway and was taken down in the box by Taniike in a play that was pretty similar to the Tamano yellow card except for the outcome. PK! Basilio lined up and put it easily in the back of the net. 2-1 Verdy. Vortis starting picking up the physical play in a desperate attempt to pull even. Unfortunately for them, it backfired. Ohashi took the pass from Anailson just outside the box and was brought down by a couple of Vortis defenders. He was awarded a free kick which he put behind Shimazu for a 3-1 advantage. Verdy closed out the scoring a connection from Ohashi to Basilio for the fourth score for Ramos and company.

Final score 4-1

3. Masahiro Ohashi........After a non descript first half, he came on strong to help finish off Vortis in fine fashion.

2. Anailson.......The Diminutive import was the catalyst for turning things around in the second half. I believe he's effective in a 45 minute role. His size has me concerned for a 48 game season but man, he can bring it!

1. Basilio........He was impressive the whole game. He seemed to connect with Ohashi and Anailson. WOW! Great start, looks like the real deal.


I think it's going to take some time before we see what this team is really capable of. The early breakdown of the defense can be attributed to nerves, the second half was much better. The biggest concern has to be midfield. Kanazawa and Nagai were pathetic out there today. Ono wasn't much of a factor today. Ohashi came on in the second half and Anailson was brilliant. I'm not sure how long Rui will stick with seems like he got the quick hook today. I think he might be even less patient with Kanazawa.

Dedimar.........Where are you? I'm starting to get the feeling we won't see much of the man this season. I wouldn't be surprised to see another import by June or July.

Mizuhara wasn't dazzling out there but he was efficient. No major lapses but I am a little concerned about the constant punches instead of taking possesion. One time he's gonna punch it right into the head of an opposing striker for a goal.

Ulsan Horang-I is coming up next........I'll try to get a preview up soon........I don't really know anything about the team so it might not be too useful.


DPRKLiberator said...

I really enjoy your blog. I'm trying to get into J-league and I found out about you on Rising Sun News. I feel bad that Tokyo Verdy is now in J2.

SMB said...

If they play the rest of the year like the second half, they will be back in J1 soon

Thanks for the kind words.....hope to see you posting here more often!

DPRKLiberator said...

I have a question! Is it really true that Tokyo Verdy will be in the ACL? I mean Jubilo didn't win anything last year and went to the ACL last year over whoever. And I think Verdy will get back quickly, I guess after reading how they thrashed Tokushima that convinced me. It will be exciting to see Ehime play. I think I've been reading too much Rising Sun News.

SMB said...

Jubilo won the 2003 Emperors cup....there is some rule that the Emperors cup winner has to wait a year before they can represent Japan in the ACL.......It's a stupid rule that nobody likes or understands.

Are you located in Tokyo? Do you know anything about the Korean K-League......Ulsan specifically?

DPRKLiberator said...

Sadly I live in Brooklyn, NY. So I don't know much about the K-League.