25 February 2008

Mito 0 - 3 Kashima

Mito and Kashima played in the 4th annual Ibaraki Soccer Festival yesterday, which Kashima won handily. Still, there were some points improved over last year.

Firstly, the defense on the whole was a lot better. As mentioned by several players, the second and third goals were sloppily let in. Mito was scrambling to recover at the start of the second half, and then again after the quick goal was scored, and the team didn't settle into the planned strategy until after letting in the third goal. From then on, defense was tight as it was in the first half. Aside from those five minutes of desperation, it was a 0 - 1 game.

Secondly, Mito played a combination of first team members and bench players (leaving out Bruno and Biju among others) and gave everyone play time, while Kashima seemed more or less to play its top team with substitutions only when necessary. No reason to feel negatively about that point, though. Last year both teams played teams including first and second team players, but this year Kashima has to prepare for Saturday's Xerox Super Cup against Hiroshima.

However, the undeniable difference in ability between Mito and the 2007 double champions is very high, and offensively there is no comparison. Kashima is able to link up passes amazingly and away from the Mito players while also seeming to always be able to be where Mito wants to pass. Most importantly Kashima is able to sneak through to the front and take shots, while Mito pushes up the side to cross in front of the goal. Those crosses rarely link up, and that strategy is only successful against a team of the same relative strength.

In any case, it was a fun time aside from getting fleeced by the parking lot and the cold of the wind in the shadow of the visitors side.


Aaron said...

Any news on the scorers when Omiya played Mito on Saturday Vendo? We won 3-2 but that's all I can find.

Vendo Thefastlane said...

First half was 0-1, second half was 3-1.

Goal scorers have been kept secret as it was a blackout game with no press. Fans who watched through the locked gate couldn't get a good enough view to catch any players.

-------------NipponBasse----------------- said...

Hi Vendo, ready for kick-off now?
How do u rate Mito's chances this season and for the game against Cerezo in particular? U seem a bit weakened compared to last year, so it's a bit worrying. Just posted a little preview on the upcoming match, as well as a season preview about all the clubs. Good luck for the game, although Im sure Cerezo will get revenge from last year^^


Vendo Thefastlane said...

Actually I just tried to reply to your post but it would not let me from my work computer...

In any case, I will be at the game from 5 hours before to 3 hours afterward to do the usual stadium work. I've been missing it. :)

I must disagree with the idea that it is a weakened team... I'd call it a riskier team. Other than Ogura and Yoshimoto who are now in Yokohama, players not continuing have been largely unrealized of their talent. Great players like Iwadate (now in Kamatamare Sanuki, whoever they are ;) ) just couldn't fulfill their potential. At least now there are new players with potential.

Looking at the results of practice games during the time when the top team was fielded (and not against national double champions), you see good results, such as against Omiya recently. Some of the new players may be inexperienced and look bad on paper, but will likely impress those seeing them. Make sure you follow not only the rental players, but also new signees Kento Hori and Mitsuru Mansho. They've shown some brilliance that should allow them to immediately excel in the level of J2. Ozawa who recently returned from the Netherlands is also showing good flashes. Lastly, there is a tall Mexican player who has been practicing with the team for some time and has shown great skill, but he hasn't been signed or used in any official capacity yet.

Going to see practices, I'm incredibly impressed with the effort and especially defensive pressing shown by the new players. Still, Mito has gone from unrealized potential to untapped potential which makes for a hard season to call. Optimistically, I could say as high as upper mid-table IF the team plays along the lines of Kusatsu or Yamagata and sneaks in many ties and narrow wins. Realistically, I'm looking at a 10th place finish. Especially for a team like Mito which needs to build up the support base, a decent year resulting in an upper half table finish is needed before a breakout year is realistic.

As for tomorrow, I'm thinking it will be a scoreless draw if Cerezo is of the same level as November. If the team has improved over the off season, Cerezo may win by one or two goals. On Mito's defensive line, Owada especially needs to bring a good game to cover for the loss of the quality all around player of former captain Yoshimoto.