4 million spectators went through Verdy turnstiles.....not too shabby
I gotta say that the team I saw today looks nothing like the one at the start of the season. For 70 minutes, Verdy played the best ball I have ever seen them play, controlling the midfield, shutting off all danger, and creating chances at will. Hulk was the first to notch a goal with a free kick that was earned after getting taken down a few yards outside the box. An in shape Diego tormented the Bellmare defense with fluid runs down the middle, dishing off a textbook pass to a streaking Silva for score number 2. Finally, Tsuchiya put in a header off a nice cross from Hattori. It seems like the squad took their foot off the gas near the end of the game and only a determined Takagi kept the clean sheet for the squad. Hell, even Kaz Iio looked like a player today.
One thing that might help Verdy on their road back to J1 is the shakeup down in Kyoto. Former Verdy man Hisashi Kato.....one of the first Yomiuri/Verdy players to don the blue shirt of Japan....has taken over for Naohiko Minobe. Shonan has pretty much been eliminated.
Finally, we have to say a sad farewell to Jesse Fink and Half time Orange. Jesse, as you might know, is a friend of Soilent Green and wrote a fabulous book called 15 Days in June about the Socceroos march in the 2006 World Cup and the history of Australian Soccer. If you get the chance, pick it up. The photo is courtesy of Jesse via former Yomiuri FC goalkeeper Dennis Boland. I didn't completely get permission so it might come down really quick. Just my little way to honor a good soccer writer! Good Luck Jesse and come back soon!