I won't post the lineups again, you can see them above
Verdy entered today with a wonderful chance to distance themselves from an early season favorite who has struggled to get their gameplan together. Rui Ramos decided to change things up by taking out the gigantic talisman, Yuzo Funakoshi. Funakoshi was coming off his worst performance of the season against Leonardo and a Montedio side who used force and muscle to counteract the physicality of Verdy's attack.
Instead, Ramos went with a very small and quick option in former Avispa man Kazunori Iio. On a certain level, it made sense. Avispa is very vulnerable on the wings and theoretically, Iio would be the best person to know how to exploit the weaknesses of a team he trained and fought with for a good amount of time.
Boy, was that a stupid mistake. Unfortunatly by doing this, Avispa was allowed to put their big centerback Shinya Kawashima predominately on Hulk. Without the enormous presence of the 195cm striker, Avispa could focus on the one big presence up front. The new, more frail offense was barely able to put up a fight against the Avispa side, losing the battle in the midfield as well as managing an anemic 5 shots on the whole game. Avispa meanwhile was able to tee up 14 shots. Corner kicks were even more lopsided as Avispa earned 11 of the precious spot kicks to a mere 2 for Verdy. In fact, Avispa had control of the ball for about 60 percent of the game.
Scoring started early in this as Kyohei Yamagata struck gold in the 11th minute of play. Fortunes seemed to be turning in Verdy's favor though when former Sydney FC man Alvin Ceccoli continued his string of misfortune by misplaying a clear into his own net.
Verdy withstood the barrage of Avispa shots until the final minute of play, when Seitaro Tomisawa was whistled for a yellow and Alex was awarded a penalty kick. Not much of a chance for verdy as the great Karmic PK wheel rolled in favor of Verdy opposition today. 2-1 Avispa and very now finds itself in danger of slipping away from a Vegalta side focused on advancement.
Much speculation was done in this column, if anybody has an eyewitness version, please write in and tell us what happened.
If you've been reading this blog regularly, you already know my feelings about Kazunori Iio. I don't want to harp on him again......obviously, the brain trust sees something in him that I don't. And, I'm not sure if Funakoshi was injured today or just pulled because they were disappointed with his play in the past game. I'm not going to speculate.
What I will criticize is the system that allows the opposing defense to body up on Hulk with no repurcussion from the other striker. If you really want to put Iio in, put him on the wing and move Diego up top or better yet have him come off the bench after pummeling the opposition with two big Brazilians. Start Ono again on the wing if you want a two way player. Give Nagai the start, or GOD FORBID give a look to Hiroyama or Saito who both are more physical and better at ball control than Iio.
Not only did Ramos take an option off the table by putting in Iio, he neutralized the effectiveness of Taira Inoue, who provides a completely different look to Funakoshi off the bench but plays the exact same style as Iio.
I understand wanting to shake things up. Verdy has regressed this season from a high of 5 goals in game 1 to 3,2,2,1 and a fortunate own goal 1 performance today. And judging by the stats, it looks like everybody got manhandled today.
Still, I doubt that I'm the only one who looked at the lineup and saw a slightly built striker with dubious finishing skills and porous control and thought, F@#$, It's gonna be a long day.
The machine was built with one wheel....the only place it could've gone was downhill.
Youtube clips will be posted when I can dredge them up!