Before I start the preview, I'd lie to officially welcome Soilent Green's newest reader, Joe, who was born last night. Congratulations Nick and here's hoping you train the lad to be a goalscorer so he can captain Japan in the World Cup!
The disaster continues for Satoshi Tsunami as his cherry blossom bombers come into Tokyo riding a 2 game losing skid. To be fair, Cerezo has run into the twin buzz saws of Vegalta Sendai and Shonan Bellmare, losing in two entirely different ways. In the Vegalta affair, Cerezo got counterattacked to death, allowing Sendai to sit back and pick their spots. In spite of outshooting Vegalta by a 2 to 1 ratio, Cerezo could not produce any scores and got beaten 2-0.
Shonan used a stifling defense to hold Cerezo to 3 shots. Even with the lack of opportunities, Cerezo nearly held on for a 1-1 tie, but 37 year old Nozomu Kato hit on an extra time strike to leave Osaka's other team high and dry and searching for a point. 2-1 Shonan.
There are some talented players in Osaka, including Brazilian D Mid Ale and the striker duo of Tatsuya Furuhashi and Takuya Kokeguchi. Shutting down these three on offense will be key for a Verdy success. On defense, GK Motohiro Yoshida is still leaking goals like he did in J1. the back 4 has been adequate, but not great.
There also has been a problem with MF Ze Carlos. Last game, he was pulled after only 33 minutes and lambasted by the tabloids. It's not clear whether he is injured or just a victim of a poor game.
CEREZO POTENTIAL LINEUP 4-4-2
FW Furuhashi Kokeguchi
Ze Carlos (Ryuhei Niwa) Miyamoto
DF Haneda Maeda Ezoe Yanagisawa
Keys to the game
1. Win the midfield battle- I'm done espousing on this in terms of Verdy. Cerezo has an experienced core but their in a bit of a muddle at the moment. Tighten the screws in the midfield and the rest of the team will crack.
2. Constant pressure- Hulk is the weapon of choice right now and is hotter than anyone. Keep riding him. If 7 Vegalta guys couldn't stop him from scoring, the less than excellent back 4 of Cerezo won't either........IF HE AND VERDY EXERT THEIR WILL.
3. No breakdowns in the middle- Last weekend was the first shaky performance by the defense this season. Togawa needs to have a bounceback game afte the abuse he took in Sendai.
I'm a little curious to see if Ramos does a little tinkering after the tie. It seemed like that was his pattern last year but blowouts gave him no reason to do so. I'm not advocating change, don't get me wrong, but if he does I'd like to see Nozomi Hiroyama get a little run. He's been on a tear in the sattelite games and was good in the preseason.
Soilent Green gets some love!
Jesse Fink, our friend from Fox Sports Australia published an article about the upcoming Urawa/Sydney FC, and I'm mentioned in it!
Of course, I kinda flubbed a couple things about Urawa. Cause I'm not that bright.
Anyhow here's the article http://blogs.foxsports.com.au/football/index.php/foxsports/comments/sydney_vs_urawa_the_japanese_perspective/#commentsmore
See ya at the game tomorrow!