J2 Matchday 3
There was a bit of an opening day of the season revisited feel to Ajista on Saturday, with the enforced lay off meaning it had been a massive eight weeks since we had last seen home action. Such a break always leads to outbreaks of unfounded optimism that is often dashed, and so it was to be the case again. Except that the optimism shouldn’t really have been unfounded, what with the amount of new signings made and the much higher wages and level of experience of our squad compared with our J2 rivals.
But football doesn’t work like that does it? The seeds of familiar disappointment were there in the scrappy opening day win against Tosu and of course last weeks demolition by promotion rivals Chiba, and those seeds had blossomed into great weeds by the time we had filed out after having been treated to a turgid goalless draw.
The most depressing thing of all was there was no apparent difference to what we went through last year when we saw FCT at home against the supposed weaker teams of J1, who very quickly worked us out, got men behind the ball and stifled our powder-puff attack. Most often these teams were able to break quickly and score at some point or get something from a set piece.
On Saturday it was the same story with on paper a very weak team in Consadole Sapporo (13th in J2 last year and without a point yet this year). They played well, and arguably had the better chances in the game, despite having the ball much less than we did. It really is mind boggling how familiar Tokyo’s pattern of play was despite new personnel in key positions, namely The Salad, Takamatsu and Yazawa.
Here are my team ratings for the game:
Gonda: 7. Tokyo’s MOTM, made a few key saves and may well have earned us a point despite a suicidal brain fart in the first half when he charged out of goal for no discernable reason.
Mukuhara: 5. Fine, but unable really to get forward into decisive positions behind their full backs, which was what was really necessary as they had so many behind the ball.
Takumi: 5 Ditto.
Morishige: 5. No brain farts means pass marks.
Konno: 6. Was the one defender really busting a gut to get forward and into their penalty area.
Tokunaga: 4. OUT OF POSITION.
Kajiyama: 5. Nice touches, but surprise surprise too CASUAL in possession and unable to have a significant impact. Fluffed a decent chance.
Yazawa: 4. Poor. Slowed down attacks, couldn’t stretch them at all. Had a good headed chance in the first half but made a poor connection.
Tatsuya: 5. If you could pick him up and point him in the right direction sometimes he might be more effective. Pace is pretty useless without vision.
The Salad. 6. Limp. The dressing had soaked into the leaves. Actually was able to turn nicely on a few occasions and get away from defenders. There were usually a few others on hand though. Had a good chance late on one on one with the keeper from an angle, perhaps should have buried it but the keeper was forced into a decent save at least.
Takamatsu: 4. Anonymous.
Hokuto (sub): 6. Busy, able to break into the box and create uncertainty.
Otake (sub): 6. Only on for two minutes but looked the most likely the create an opening in that time.
Pedro Junior (sub) 3. Terrible. Got the ball stuck in his feet repeatedly, although he was very tightly marked. Unable to link with his compatriot.
So pretty harsh marks but we have to remember that the new recruits are still bedding in and there has been a long lay off. Also, other results did not go too badly for us in the league so we are not in danger of losing touch with the top just yet. Lastly we have a derby to look forward to on Wednesday so there is no time to feel sorry for ourselves. Nevertheless I would like to round off this review with one final mark:
Big Bear: A rather generous 1. and a warning that we are not going to put up with the same muck we witnessed last year in J1 in J2!
P.S. All feedback and debate welcome, remember that the writers of On the Gas are always half pissed in the first half and quite pissed in the second so accuracy may suffer.