Sunday, August 29

Vissel 0 - 0 FC Tokyo

Last night's 0-0 draw against FC Tokyo has done little to calm the usual fears of relegation we have around this part of the season. We are currently on equal points and it really was a golden opportunity to break away from the 3rd from the bottom spot which is now being shared by 4 teams, Omiya, Sendai, Tokyo and us. The only positive thing that came out of this weekend was that Shonan and Kyoto both did us another favor by losing to increase the gap with the bottom 2, albeit just slightly. As it stands, the remainder of our campaign will be focussed on avoiding one relegation spot, not an easy task by any means given our current form.

And the game? Same old same to be honest. Our defensive lapses were almost embarrassing at times and it really makes you question our approach to training during the week. To be fair, we seem to be dealing with balls in the air OK, but there were a number of occasions when they were able to find players in way too much space in front of the goal by cutting back balls from the byline. Initial responsibility for this lies with our backs, Tomita and Mogi, but Matsuoka and Mihara were also at fault several times for failing to get back quick enough to cover the area in front of the center backs. I spoke to Edmilson on Friday (his kid goes to the same school as mine) and he said that a thigh injury would keep him out of the match. His presence in a defensive capacity was missed today, so I hope he is back next week. Tomita had another terrible game and, without being too negative, I really can't see what he brings to the team.

Nothing much to speak of up front either. We had very few shots on goal and our only bright sparks again were Botti and Popo. The new Korean forward Lee got his 4th start in a row, but has failed to make any impact up until now. I would prefer Tokura started for us when Okubo is absent, with Lee used as a 2nd half substitute until he gets a bit more experience. Mihara got forward quite a bit and missed a one-on-one with the keeper early in the second half. But as previously mentioned, this left a gap in front of defense which they exploited. For me, this was another tactical mistake by Miura - kind of obvious when you think about it. Matsuoka cannot cover that space by himself in Edmilson's absence, so if Mihara is going to play that role, he should play it.

Anyway, it was nice to go out to Universiade for the first (and last) time this year. The ground was in immaculate condition, the half-time fireworks were, well... lovely, and Movi showed us once again that even chubby Moose-like creatures can look half decent in a yukata! I would have traded all of that, though, for another 2 points.

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