14 September 2009

Mito 0 - 2 Tochigi

Due to the larger than usual number of people needing to leave soon after the match ended, there was a shuffle of the staff and I staffed the cheap seats for the first time in more than a year. On the plus side, I could finally join the cheering section for at least a small part of the game. On the minus side, I could clearly see the poor play that led to this poor result.

It was vintage Mito, which is not a good thing. Earlier in the year there were bad losses, giving up 5 runs, but those were with injured squads against top level teams. This was the first loss against a traditionally weak team this year where Mito's poor play outweighed the other team's effort, at least since the first match's loss at Ehime. Shimoda is out with a leg injury, but yesterday's starters were the choice line-up at the beginning of the season. On Tochigi's part, they have been on a good run since picking up Leandro, but he alone doesn't make the team much stronger than the teams Mito could not beat in the two previous matches.

From the field level (which is very hard to follow) and from the sound of the crowd when out of view it was clear that Tochigi was playing better than Mito in the first half. In the second half, I could see why. Both on the attack and in defense, there were more Tochigi players in front of the goal than Mito players. It would pay off for them in the second half as the player with a foot on the ball could pop it in for both goals.

Along with the previous two draws, this is the turning point for Mito's promotion chances. The team has to start winning again to take advantage of any slip up in the top teams. There is now an 8 point gap between Mito and the promotion spots with 11 matches left to play. Even if Mito would still be in 5th, two more losses against weak teams would probably make the run for promotion a 4 horse race.

No comments: