Saturday, September 30, 2006

Now playing the part of Ned Beatty.....

Vissel Kobe and that would make Verdy the hillbilly. Deliverance is synonomous with fat, happy guys getting violated in the most painful area and Vissel came in to Tokyo one fat and happy squad, coasting easily into the first division. But then something bad happened, very bad. They played the game.

It looked like just another Vissel/Verdy matchup with Hideo Tanaka hitting an early goal. Then the onslaught began. Nozomi Hiroyama continued his string of in form games with a notch in the 35th minute. Shell shocked, Vissel let Marcus notch one in the 37th. 3 minutes later, Togawa hit on a shot. And just like that it was 3-1

Then, Verdy reverted back to their old form, picking up 3 yellows and allowing Tanaka to cut the lead to one. Would Verdy find another way to drop one to Vissel?

No! the other legs of the Verdy Brazilian triad banged in scores (Silva in the 73rd and Ze Luis in the 85th) finalizing the score at 5-2. The win cuts the Vissel lead for the playoff spot to 15 points with only 9 to play. Daunting task, but has entered the final 1/4 at 3-0-0.


Ultranippon posed a question about why Verdy has been so erratic this season and I'd like to answer it now

1. Big turnover and poor choices in the midfield- Nick mentioned it in the comments that Verdy lost a lot of talent when they were dropped into J2. The place they got hurt the worst was in the midfield, losing young branch player Takahito Soma and playmaker Daigo Kobayashi to the Saitama squads took a bite out the creativity of the squad. Losing big striker Washington also killed alot of scoring momentum. The main players brought in for creative aspects and playmaking (Masahiro Ohashi, Harutaka Ono, and Anailson) were erratic at best.

2. Imported talent was less than overwhelming- The original trio of Basilio, Anailson and Dedimar can be finally summed up by the acronym of their three names......BAD. By bringing in smallish older players who are prone to breaking down during a long season, Ramos took a gamble that failed miserably. Basilio was unfortunate to get injured and by far the best of the three. Anailson was caught in a constant shuffle in the midfield, and Dedimar was dismal. We are now beginning to see the effects of having an effective foreign presence on the squad.

3. Constant lineup shuffles- The changes from game to game took a heavy toll. The downside of having alot of options is that you tend to micromanage and Ramos did that to the nth degree. Forwards you can interchange, branches a little less so, but the spine always needs to be as consistent as possible. And it wasn't.

4. Injuries- Every team has to go through it but Verdy was hit at it's heart when annointed leader Harutaka Ono went down for what looks like the season. After a slow start, Ono was starting to become the anchor of the midfield........disaster struck and Verdy lost the middle of the season trying to find a combination. The back 4 also got hit with injuries. Morimoto never was able to catch up with the team after graduation and the injury. Basilio never was the same after the Consadole ding.

5. Lack of discipline early- The squad couldn't control themselves and picked up stupid yellows and devastating reds. Set play miscues and own goals were shots in the foot that the team was never able to recover from.

It all kind of links together and it would be easy to throw it all in the lap of Ramos but it is a whole team breakdown that happened this year. I didn't even touch on the lack of talent that 69 had to start or the age of the squad.

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