This was the worst we have played all year. There was absolutely no link up play between the midfield and the front, our defense was completely broken down on a number of occasions, and we were unable to string more than 3 passes together for the majority of the match. Miura needs to take a real good look not only at the individual performances of his players, but also his tactics, and more specifically his inability to adapt to the tactics of the opposition. I can't remember the last time we booed our players at half time but if ever there was a day they deserved it, today was it.
Their 2 goals, coming 15 minutes before and after the interval were neither spectacular nor surprising. I will not go into detail. More concerning was the complete lack of respect we showed for the fundamentals of the game - holding the ball up, not getting caught in possession in our own half and taking, or at least trying to take opportunities when they arise. Furthermore, it was the most negative football I have seen from us for quite a while. At half time I mentioned to a comrade that for every 1 or 2 passes forward, we made 1 pass back. This kind of football indicates a clear lack of confidence in our ability to maintain any kind of possession in their half and a complete lack of ideas going forward. With all due respect to Yamagata, although they pounced on the chances they were gifted, they are not really that good, which makes it all the more frustrating.
The only positive thing I got out of this match was confirmation that we finally have a forward who can win headers. Tokura once again dominated in the air and he was the only player that gave us any kind of chance of getting back into it. Had there been someone anticipating his movement on OUR team, we may have been able to get more shots on goal. Okubo might be the player to do this but I'm still not convinced of their ability to play together despite their individual talents. We'll see.
The top half of the back stand today was full of JHS kids who had received free tickets for the match, and I saw them starting to leave about 15 minutes before the end. How sad is that!? These are the kids you would expect to be hanging around after the match trying to snag an autograph or a glimpse of their heroes. Maybe they went home to practice upon realizing that they can get paid to be "professional" footballers for Kobe in a few years from now...