I'm showing you pictures of three of Montedio's most important players. Leandro is their captain, the man that anchors a tough defense. Yohei Toyoda is the team's leading socrer and main threat up top. Masaru Akiba is an anchor in the middle for the squad. All three have been ruled out for the upcoming game between a Verdy team still in the middle of a tumultuos (and still unresolved) period which threatened the reign of Rui the Fro and a Montedio side who finds themselves atop the division. The April 1st contest surely was a game for fools because not even the most partizan Yamagata supporter could have imagined that it would be Montedio in 1st and Verdy hovering near the drain.
The key matchup in this contest will be the new Verdy power trio of Hulk, Diego, and Nozomi Hiroyama against the pairing of Shogo Kobara and whoever coach Yasuhiro Higuchi decides to slot in for Leonardo.
The number one candidate for the job is rookie Takuya Sonoda, who has made two appearances this season.
Potential Verdy Lineup
MF Kanazawa Ze Luis
FW Hulk Hiroyama
SO HOW DO YOU BEAT MONTEDIO?
On paper, it's simple. Control the ball, punish the new guy in center defense, and limit the mistakes.
Somehow Montedio has managed to come up with heart and effort far beyond the sum of their parts to inch into first place. The first key will be for Ze Luis and Kanazawa to take out the branch defenders who control the ball and start the offense.
The second thing is quick movements and decisions to keep Montedio back on their heels and not bodying up on the key offensive players. Montedio wants a slow, physical game where they can wear down the middle and get off a chance or two to steal the game. It's mundane and hard to watch, but it's effective. If Verdy can get an early goal, it will force Montedio to take chances and then the floodgates can open up.
Finally, Fukuda and Hattori have got to clean up the defensive slop they've been collectively throwing out for almost a month and a half. There is a good chance that the squad can build on the nice result they got in Kyoto. I don't think anyone has been blown out by the last place squad at home and beat a first place squad on the road in the same month, but I could be wrong.