Yesterday's bloodbath marked the end of the first quarter for campaign 2007
Now is as good a time as any to give the players grades for the first quarter
Hulk- The mercurial forward has been one of the few bright spots on an increasingly dismal campaign. Consistently driving forward and taking shots when the rest of the squad watches. The only one who can create his own shot. Sometimes you have to wonder if it's a good or bad thing that he is so creative because the rest of the team tends to get complacent waiting for him to score.
GRADE B+ Stop picking up stupid yellows
Funakoshi- The early season momentum he brought was stifled by an ill advised benching against Avispa. It seems like the team thrives when he's able to put a goal in or get an assist. Who knows where he fits in the new scheme
GRADE B He's done more than was expected early but has faded in recent games.
Hiramoto- Not very impressive in the few appearances he's made this year. Still looks hurt though so I'll hold my comments for now. The two yellows in a blowout shows his head is still not completely right.
Iio- 3 games, no shots. The slump started when he appeared and the has struggled ever since. Coincidence? Of course it is....I can't stand him as a player but even I won't go thaaaaaaaat far. Still.............
GRADE F I don't know how he scored 4 in J1 last year...........maybe he just needs the right coach
Yoshitake- He's played hard in the two games he appeared in but looks overmatched. At forward he hustled against a stout Shonan defense but didn't come up with much. Mito made him look really bad.
GRADE C- I think he would be better served as a bench player, coming in late for energy bursts
Inoue- I love watching the kid play, he has a constant motor and great pace. Unfortunately, he has yet to convert it into points. His shot is a little weak and off target. He does create havoc in his role though.
GRADE C Great effort and heart of a champ but it's not translating into anything tangible.
Ono- The captain has really been one of the biggest busts this season. I'm not completely sure it's his fault because he looks woefully out of position in the wing spot and he doesn't seem healed from last year's Hernia. However his tentative play on offense and questionable decision making has been depressing
GRADE D+ You have to play better if you wear the band. 2 years of disappointment.
DIEGO- The single BIGGEST disappointment has been DIEGO who showed up woefully out of shape and has been a shell of his former self. He has demonstrated neither the intellectual acumen nor the sweet touch that helped propel Kashiwa Reysol to the big time last campaign. I was shocked to see that he was available. Now I understand why.
GRADE F Maybe the new formation will allow him to show the same form from last year. If not, he goes down as a worse signing than Dedimar.
Nanami- Not a great campaign for a legendary player. Even before the injury, he was slowing down the offense with errant passes and lack of pace. His defense has been pretty solid however, without him, the team has really broken down.
GRADE C+ I've been a little harsh on him but I've seen Togawa without him and I gotta say I might be rating him a bit low.
Ze Luis- Playing very well before the minor injury. Lately though, he's been disappointing. Looked like last year with the tentative performance against Mito.
GRADE B He's been much better this year than last. When he plays confident he's a great player.
Kanazawa- ERRATIC......follows up a good game with a mediocre one. To be fair he's been probably one of the three best players during the malaise.
GRADE B Why he was playing D mid instead of wing was beyond me. 3 goals in 4 games is a pretty good rate.
Sato- Great start but a poor finish to the first quarter. He needs to play in the D mid role more. It seems like he is also better suited as a sub and a change of pace guy like
GRADE C+ Maybe he'll refind his form and touch.
Nagai- Surprise of the season for me. He has been superb in the 30 minute role off the bench. There's been a couple of games where he has jump started the offense with a good run and timely pass.
GRADE B+ Good to see him effective and in shape this year.
Tomisawa- DISASTER. Between the bad play, bad cards, and bad decisions, he has been one of the teams worst players. Looked good in preseason, but he doesn't seem to have it.
Sugawara- Has not offered much in the time he has got. Mediocre, just like last year
Tsuchiya- The best signing of the year for the squad. Can you honestly imagine how bad the defense would be without the bald man in the middle. His constant hustle and coverage has saved Verdy on a few occasions.
Togawa- It's a shame that a guy with all the tools to be a great defender has a bad head. How times did he get burned yesterday? Awful. How about the two cards against Shonan to turn a 0-0 tie into a farce. His decision making is atrocious. And with Nanami out, teams seem to focus on him.
GRADE D Big dissapointment this year.
Hattori- God he looked old against Mito. For a guy who's supposed to be a leader and show character, he has made some really bad blunders. Might have single-handedly ended Ramos career.
GRADE D Is he contemplating retirement?
Takagi- Looked excellent early but against Tokushima he was woefully out of position. His confidence looks shot.
GRADE C After about 10 shots, he starts to lose his focus. He's cracking.
Yoshihara- Wow, I was having Mizuhara flashbacks with his lack of movement in the box. Granted, the defense didn't help
GRADE D Is there a plan C?
Hiroyama- I save him for last because I have been his biggest booster this season. Yesterday was his big chance to get back into the fold for verdy and he disappointed, greatly. The team needed a guy to step up.......I thought it would be him, but he was constantly out-muscled and out-hustled.