Change was the name of tonight's game. Both Mito and Verdy came in with a different crew for the match after disappointing performances over the weekend. Verdy made 4 changes to their lineup, 2 due to suspension and Mito sent 5 of their saturday starters to the pine.
GK 21 Hiroyuki Takeda
DF 20 Takashi Kuramoto, 32 Masahi Owada, 14 Takafumi Morimoto, 5 Yu Tokisaki
MF 6 Shohei Ogura, 13 Takuya Shihara, 7 Kenji Hada, 24 Shuta Takahashi (87 min-11 Shogo Shiozawa)
FW 9 Anderson, 29 Kasuhika Shingyoji
TOKYO VERDY 1969:
GK 21 Yoshinari Takagi
DF 13 Yanagisawa, 5 Dedimar, 2 Hagimura, 27 Aoba
MF 8 Nagai (45 min 20 Hiroyama) 10 Anailson, 11 Ono, 15 Kanazawa
FW 25 Hiramoto, 39 Saito (68 min 16 Iio)
Not used: GK 1 Mizuhara, DF 42 Hiki, 32 Kuba
*Quick thoughts-I'm a little surprised that Hiki found his way onto the first team this early, but suspensions and a sattelite game probably meant that Ramos just wanted to fill the spot. A little risky if the defense was struggling but it's nice to see that anyone can get a chance on the squad.
J2 was in some sort of a league wide lethargy tonight. The first score in the entire league took place with 2 minutes left to go in the first half. 4 games went to the break at 0-0, and for awhile it looked like we were going to have a league wide shutout. the Verdy-Mito game was no different. Judging by the stats, it seemed that neither team could get things going offensively. Verdy was only able to manage one shot on goal in the first half. Also continuing a trend, Verdy managed to get carded 4 times, including every defender not named Dedimar and Hiramoto.
In the 39th minute of the second half, Hiramoto put in the only score of the night. Last year's starting keeper and Soilent Green's favorite whipping boy, the Mighty Takagi, posted a shutout win by turning back 8 shots, including 4 by an active Shuta Takahashi.
I'm guessing it wasn't a pretty win for Verdy but they get the 3 points and keep pace with front running Kashiwa. Mito on the other hand continues their downward spiral with their 4th shutout loss in a row.
Star of the Game:
I have to give it to the dandelion, Yoshinari Takagi. Pulling the shutout after being on the bench deserves respect. I'm investigating the whole CyberAgent connection on this one......they buy 48.1 percent of the company and magically their two blogboys (Yanagisawa and Takagi) reappear on the first teams.
Other Results/The Table
Sapporo 3-0 Thespa
Sendai 3-0 Tosu
Yamagata 0-0 Vissel
Kashiwa 1-0 Ehime FC
Tokushima 1-1 Shonan
So in the end, only one game ended in a 0-0 tie when Vissel held off Yamagata with only 10 men for over 55 minutes. Satoshi Yokoyama went off very early in the tie with Vortis. Sendai blew out a 10 man Tosu side, Consadole finally shook off their home funk by pasting Thespa, and Kashiwa returned to their lockdown defense by posting their 5th shutout over Ehime.
1 Kashiwa 19 (+10) 6-1-0
2 Sendai 12 (+8) 4-0-2
3 Verdy 12 (+3)4-0-2
4 Yokohama FC 11 (+3) 3-2-1
5 Kobe 10 (-)3-1-3
6 Sapporo 9 (+2) 3-0-3
7 Ehime 9 (-2) 3-0-4
8 Shonan 8 (-1) 2-2-2
9 Tokushima 8 (-3) 2-2-3
10 Mito 7 (-4) 2-1-4
11 Tosu 7 (-6) 2-1-4
12 Kusatsu 6 (-5) 2-0-4
13 Yamagata 2 (-5) 0-2-4
The road fun continues as Verdy heads off for a Saturday showdown against the shocking pink budgies in Tosu.
Who,When and Where: Sagan Tosu 4/8 Saturday at 2pm in Tosu
As always........if you saw Takagi in all his splendor tonight, drop me a line and I'll post it.