Tomorrow is Anpanman day at Ajinomoto stadium and a more fitting theme might not be possible as Verdy faces Chiba nemisis Kashiwa Reysol. As you might remember, Verdy lost in their last meeting against Reysol 5-1.
From the start, results against Reysol haven't been great
Let's take a look
3-25-1995 H Verdy 0-1 Kashiwa L
5-10-1995 A Verdy 1-0 Kashiwa W
9-23-1995 A Verdy 7-1 Kashiwa W
11-15-1995 H Verdy 2-0 Kashiwa W
3-23-1996 H Verdy 2-3 Kashiwa L
10-2-1996 A Verdy 2-1 Kashiwa W
Nabisco Cup Verdy 2-1 Kashiwa Semifinals
7-2-1997 H Verdy 1-3 Kashiwa L
9-27-1997 A Verdy 1-2 Kashiwa L
7-25-1998 H Verdy 1-3 Kashiwa L
11-14-1998 A Verdy 1-2 Kashiwa L
5-22-1999 A Verdy 1-0 Kashiwa W
9-15-1999 H Verdy 1-3 Kashiwa L
3-18-2000 A Verdy 0-1 Kashiwa L
7-1-2000 H Verdy 1-0 Kashiwa W
4-14-2001 H Verdy 1-0 Kashiwa W
9-29-2001 A Verdy 1-1 Kashiwa T
3-31-2002 H Verdy 0-1 Kashiwa L
11-17-2002 A Verdy 1-4 Kashiwa L
7-12-2003 H Verdy 3-1 Kashiwa W
10-19-2003 A Verdy 2-0 Kashiwa L
3-21-2004 H Verdy 0-1 Kashiwa L
11-6-2004 A Verdy 2-0 Kashiwa W
5-14-2005 H Verdy 1-0 Kashiwa W
11-26-2005 A Verdy 1-5 Kashiwa L
4-1-2006 H Verdy 2-3 Kashiwa L
6-10-2006 A Verdy 1-4 Kashiwa L
8-22-2006 H Verdy 4-1 Kashiwa W
10-14-2006 A Verdy 1-4 Kashiwa L
4-19-2008 A Verdy 1-5 Kashiwa L
Not too awful 12-17-1 but recent results have skewed in Kashiwa's favor, including 4 of the last 6 contests being decided by 3 goals or more in Kashiwa's favor. Add to that Verdy's recent run in the past 4 contests (3 losses and a win against JEF reserves) and the loss of big striker Hulk and on paper this looks like a bloodbath.
However, I think tomorrow's contest might be a surprise win. Here's why
1. Kashiwa isn't that good- Seriously, the team that currently resides in 3rd has won alot of 1-0 contests on bad bounces, other team's mistakes and non-calls. Eventually that luck turns the other way. While there is talent on the squad, namely GK Takenori Sugeno and FW Tadanori Ri, the team relies more on physical play and grabbing and eventually that comes to backfire on you. They've had a real nice run but they are due for a drubbing.....and those usually happen when you least expect it.
2. Hulk is gone- Yeah, you read that right. I know it sounds crazy, but losing your morst talented player forces the impetus to create and score on the other members of the team and more often than not they come through.......in the short term. I expect Verdy to come out firing to prove that they were more than a one man show. Look for Hiramoto to be especially good tomorrow.....in the past he has shown he can turn it up for a 1 or 2 game stretch.
3. The team is on notice- After the antics of Hulk finally wore thin, the team is on notice that no one is untouchable on this squad. As a whole, they've been underperforming so today is the day to step it up. I imagine the era of big egos of yesteryear might be coming to a close soon, especially with the noose tightening around Hahiratani's neck. This is all his team now and he has to make sure they respond after the events transpiring in the past few weeks. The players asked for this and now they got what they wanted.
Yahoo Japan has this lineup for tomorrow
I think Leandro will start for Oguro but have a very short leash. I believe he is soon to be out the door if he doesn't perform. Look for him to be pulled at halftime, benched for the game against Jubilo and out of the J league by August. with his best friend on his way out, I don't see Leandro in green for long.