The players had their first pre-season game today as they played the u-18 team at gannosu.
It’s impossible to say much from the first pre-season friendly with a new bunch of players who’ve probably not run around much over christmas, but it was good to get a look at the squad for 2014.
The players had 1 half each for nearly all players, sakata and kanemori weren’t there, and sakai and jang only warmed up. Apart from that it was a mixture of players who will probably play and probably be squad players in each half, but a feature of this season is that there seems to be definite competition for all positions.
The first half team was:
Mishima. Koga. Tsutsmi. Takeda
Nakahara. Tamura. Nozaki
Ushinohama. Hirai. Ishizu.
It started out with university player Tamura playing as the deepest midfielder which allowed Nakahara to get forward more freely and have greater impact around the box. I thought Tamura did ok in the role and especially in using his physique to win balls in the air and tackles, and could help us in what is now our hardest position to fill If he can improve his mobility.
It started looking like the youngsters might lose badly as the ball was passed around outside their box but then they had a quick counter and scored.
This must be a nightmare game for Koga, a bunch of fast 16 and 17 year olds who are going to try and get into a foot race with him with any good tackles he makes being expected. Both he and Tsutsumi looked off the pace as Koga was caught out of position and the striker getting a toe to the ball before Tsutsumi allowing the right wing to score.
It was good for the game and the adults did go up the other end and score. Mishima looked our best player getting forward from right back and beat a couple of players before crossing to Hirai to finish well.
Hirai didn’t play much last season, and i expect him to get even better, but already he looks like someone who will score a lot of goals with the right service. Maybe not the sort of long range goals Ishizu was scoring last year, but the sort of fox in the box who will score 8 out of 10 chances which come his way.
He doubled his tally for the day by smartly knocking home a good fast cross from Takeda on the other full back position.
With Mishima and Takeda we had two full backs who tried to get forward and will get us goals this year. They may also cost us goals as there were times when they were trying to get forward and balls were too easily intercepted which allowed easy counters with especially Takeda out of position. This situation comes back to the defensive midfielder who has to be able to cover.
Between Hirais 2 goals Nakahara showed the advantage of having him further forward as he broke into the box and calmly passed into the corner of the net.
I was looking around for who I thought could be doing better. Nozaki was having a quiet game, but that could be expected of a young kid at a new club and Ushinohama was showing why he hasn’t had many chances in the last couple of seasons by being fairly ineffective.
I was thinking i’d been wrong to call for him to get more games when he scored a well taken goal. Tamura had gone forward and drilled a ball into the box for taku to slide onto. He is a useful sub to have as he seems to have a knack for making things happen.