18 March 2007

Mito 1-3 Kusatsu

Yesterday, Mito played its second home game against Kusatsu, in the first match of the four part "North Kanto Derby". Despite the close proximity, the two clubs have the smallest average attendance records, and less than 1700 people attended the game. Factoring into this was likely the playing on Saturday, the bitter cold, and the overcast dreariness.

Despite the weather, Mito showed a lot of promise during the first half. Playing agressively and outclassing Kusatsu, the first goal was taken by midfielder Shingyoji 8 minutes in. Both the team and fans rode a wave of confidence through the end of the half.

During the second half of the match, though, things went downhill. Kusatsu scored the tying goal quickly in the second half and Mito's offense stuttered in result. Many fairly amateur mistakes began to be made and chances weren't realized. The second goal by Kusatsu magnified this play even more.

The last goal probably was not "earned" by Kusatsu. As injury time began, goalkeeper Honma attempted the risky technique of running deep into the field to kick the ball near to the opposing goal and have the chance of a forward striking in the tying goal (similar to a "Hail Mary" pass in American football). However, in one of these attempts, he slipped slightly while approaching the ball and a Kusatsu player reached it first. He easily dribbled around the fallen keeper and tapped in the ball for the last point.

If Mito can play like they did against Yamagata and the first half of this match, there is still hope to rise in the yearly standings and perhaps even a small chance of reaching division 1. For this to happen, though, more work on cooperation and confidence is needed.

Depending on today's results, Mito will be placed at either 11th or 12th out of the 13 teams in division 2, ahead of either Tosu, Ehime, or Osaka. While 46 games are left to be played this is not the way to start a winning season and Mito's next game (away against Ehime) should be won or confidence will be shaken severely against Fukuoka next Sunday. Mito needs all of its technique and ability if it has a chance to beat the team that was only barely relegated after last season.

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