So, I went out to Ajinomoto at about 5:15 and went in to the AM/PM and saw a large Brazilian man with his family.........the guy looked like Ze Luis, pretty sure it was either him or a relative but I can't be too sure so I'll just say I might have seen Ze Luis before the game. And the 500 tumblers were already sold out........GOOD JOB VERDY! Nice! Way to understock!
Anyhow, Verdy faced a very poor but dangerous Tokushima Vortis side who was led again by former Verdy MF Jun Tamano. Coming off a big win in Sendai, this had all the makings of an upset.
DF Kaimoto, Aoba, Hagimura, Fujita
MF Marcus, Ze Luis, Nejime, Sugawara
FW Saito, Hiramoto
BENCH: Mizuhara, Kina (45), Ohashi (45), Tomisawa (85), Morimoto
It started out well enough, with Verdy attacking and Vortis fouling. 16 minutes in saw Masa Saito take the ball deep into the side box, put on a nice move and pass. Normally, Hiramoto would take an off balance kick over the goal, but he let it go through to a streaking Aoba who put it in with authority. This was the first goal in awhile that looked like it was planned. Beautiful goal, beautiful run, 1-0. Don't forget.....this is Ajinomoto. The Verdy defense gave semi-dangerous striker Jorginho room to get off a beautiful waist-high kick that went past Takagi and in to the far corner of the goal.......................1-1. First half was verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry sloppy for the home green and possibly a warning sign of things to come.
The second half saw near misses on both sides. A breakdown with Hagimura saw An anonymous Vortis player bounce one off the crossbar. It looked like the newly moved Sugawara and Hagimura had some sort of miscommunication issues. Ohashi and Tetsuhiro Kina (one of the least enjoyable players to watch on Verdy's side) were in at halftime. Ohashi was less visible than Kina who was impressive with his motor and his hustle. Marcus missed making the score 2-1 when his bullet free kick went off the crossbar. In the 71st minute, the silent Ohashi dumped off a slow dribbler to Masa Saito, who wrestled away from a Tokushima defender and put in the score. Not impressive, but effective. 5 minutes later, Hiramoto dropped off a pass for Saito, who drilled one under the cross bar and in for a score. Nice pass.......nice shot. Hiramoto would get his chance on pure hustle, getting a header in the box, putting it on the ground and squeezing one just under the keeper for goal number 4. Figuring the game was over, Verdy let Jun Tamano bend a beautiful free kick into the middle of the box to a wide open Akira Oba. Final score 4-2. Eerily reminiscent to the first match of the season. Good offense, bad defense.
Impressive player......he had some good touch on the ball, It's nice to see three or four guys who can actually make passes and create. I thought coming in, his role was Defensive midfielder but it looked like he was more of a distributor. He was a bit off on defense from time to time but nobody on this squad is great at d, so why should Ze be any different?
GK- Takagi made some nice saves and did a good job pushing the ball. He got caught a bit flat on the second goal but not a bad outing. He's getting consistent and might be the MVP of this squad. 5.5
DF- Quiet night for Kaimoto, the side with him/Sugawara and Hagimura let up two dangerous shots. The middle was a bit soft on the second as well. Fujita was sloppy all night in his branch role and his defense. Aoba was decent and excellent on the first shot. If not for the goal, it would be lower. 5
MF- Marcus and Ze Luis were excellent with ball distribution. Ze was hesitating a bit in the first half but picked it up. He looks like a red card waiting to happen on some of the tackles. Nejime was good on D but rough on his passing. Sugawara was more effective in the midfield than D. Ohashi and Kina were nice upgrades in the second half......best performance in awhile for the mids. 6.5
FW- Wow. Super night for both strikers. 3 goals and 2 assists between the two of them. It kind of reminded me of the Hiramoto/Basilio chemistry early in the season. I was impressed with Hiramoto's unselfishness tonight more than anything. Saito gave everything he had and was gassed at the end. Hiramoto showed some fire in his game and not his mouth......maybe it was the captains band that helped. 7
RAMOS- I was ready to torch him about sending in Kina but the guy was good tonight. Sloppy first, better second. soft 6
2-2-0 in the Marcus era.......I still don't get why this guy isn't playing J1. With the impending move of Morimoto to Catania, there is a problem with striker depth. After Hiramoto and Saito, there's Basilio (who was not at training or the big game), Maatsura and Hiroyama who can't hit the side of the training ground building (It's true.....saw it for myself), or playing someone like Ohashi or Ono out of position. Not great. It was good to finally meet the legendary Nick! Hope I didn't scare your family too much, coming out of the shadows like a big fat sweaty blogger guy. If you're ever in the 1969 section, look me up and we'll have a beer and make fun of Ramos!
Big match against Montedio Yamagata........the last time Verdy went north they stole a 3-2 decision from the home side. July 26th is another crack at Consadole Sapporo and my last match until September. The site will be updated only once a week because I will be in California with my family watching MLS!