Well, I went out to Mitsuzawa in the pouring rain.........And it was worth every wet minute! Took a 2 hour trip from Saitama to Yokohama and got to the stadium a bit late so I missed out on the gift bags. But I did however discover flour tortilla wrapped hotdogs.....the best stadium food in Japan!!!!!! You put one of those things in front of a fat guy, it will disappear faster than Rickhiki from the first team.
Anyhow, let's get to the game!!!!!!
MF Sugawara Tomisawa
FW Kaimoto Silva
I'm not going to get into a big play by play because it was wet and I couldn't make notes. I'll just tell you that Marcus scored on a stellar free kick......low and to the far post that went screaming over the slick turf and fell right in. Near the end of the half, Tomoya Uchida was the fortunate benificiary of a loose ball after a scrum in front of the box, left alone, he put in an easy shot past Takagi. the second half saw not one, but two possible takedowns in the box, one on Silva (i believe...could be wrong ) and a worse shot on Hiramoto. Both could have been easily called PK's for Verdy but the ref said play on. I'm glad they did, and here's why.......Hiramoto got the ball back on the left, took it past one Yokohama DF, took a shot, stayed on his feet, drove past the second defender......went in on a third....got an isolation on Sugeno and scored. All talent and determination. It's something that everyone involved with Verdy knows Hiramoto has in him but seldom uses. In my opinion, Hiramoto has National Team talent and a JFL head and it kills me to watch him play.
Fujita played a patchy game on the branch, Burning people but losing the ball on the endlines. He did manage to draw a yellow on a horrible dive which made me laugh out loud. Alemon was less proficient at his diving skills. The last dangerous attempt happened on a Silva breakaway where he lost the ball, got it back and flipped it up over an out of position keeper across the goal line only to be whistled for a high kick that shouldn't have been called. The officials were really poor today.
Nagano looks a lot like Hagimura.....physically not skillfully.....he played a really good game. Alemon didn't really get a shot off. Game was really entertaining......very physical and intense which surprised me considering Verdy had nothing to play for. No subs today which was a good call by Ramos.....the team played well. Back 4 was possibly the best I've seen performance wise all year. I really like Hirayama slipping back to his natural position.......not many shots but the breakaway was always there and the team countered well. Disciplined is the word that comes to mind. I still want to see the little used guys get a run but I'm happy to see the team play well. NO CORNER KICKS *O* unbelievable! I didn't even notice......usually that means the team is not functioning offensively but that wasn't the case today.
I'm calling it a three team race for both promotion and relegation......while Omiya and Sanfrecce are still a few points away from being truly safe and Sagan still is mathematically able to qualify, it would take an outlandish rush/collapse for either scenario to happen.
Anyhow Cerezo and Avispa both dropped results (Jubilo 3-2 Cerezo) (Sanfrecce 2-0 Avispa) while Last years J2 Champ, Kyoto Purple Sanga tied with cinderella squad Venforet Kofu 1-1
Avispa leads the pack on a 1 goal advantage on differential over Cerezo. Kyoto trails by 3 points.
Meanwhile, the loss to Verdy kept Yokohama at 83 points and the second automatic promotion spot. In the game of the day, Kashiwa went to Kobe and won 4-3 in a back and forth affair that saw Kashiwa take the lead 3 times only to see Vissel match them at every turn. Finally diego put one away in the 43rd minute to steal the win on the road and put them 2 points away from the top. Three teams seperated by a point each.
I'm gonna call it Cerezo versus Vissel in the playoff......they've had two chances to really salt away the top spot and failed to do so. I think Kashiwa will end up with the top spot.
The Emperor Has No Clothes?
The Verdy related blogs have been going crazy about the possibility of Nike ending it's uniform sponsorship with Verdy. My japanese is too poor to get an accurate translation but I guess something is going on with Urawa that has caused speculation that Verdy will lose them as supplier............So next year will Verdy be in the Kaepa mud flappa unis of Consadole? Umbro? Mizuno? Adidas? Le Coq Sportif (I don't think I could handle a chicken on the uniforms)? Puma? Maybe another US company like Champion? Reebok?
Next up for Verdy is a game against Tosu in the last game of the year at Ajinomoto. I have to watch Junior High kids sing. I won't be there.