Avispa Fukuoka 0 : 1 Montedio Yamagata
After what had been a fairly optimistic start to the season where it looked like we might be able to sneak into the play-offs this has now become a disappointing start as the team slumped to another defeat when a win would have seen them remain just outside the play-offs.
Yamagata are a decent team who were in J1 at the same time Avispa last were, but on this evidence they have recovered much better.
They represent a lot of the antithesis of what Avispa players represent.
They have no obvious star players, but a group of players who work hard, stick to a plan and play to the best of their ability.
We have star players, but on days like this when guys like Jogo and Hirai are almost entirely absent then we are left with big gaps. Unfortunately the days when the players who we try to depend on don’t show up the team is very poor.
Those days might increase in the coming weeks as Jogo is likely to miss a few games after doing some hand gestures in various directions, and Sakata went off with some sort of ankle injury.
I am half wondering if it will cause a few players to step up and try to fill the gaps. In this game every single Yamagata player was better than every single Avispa player.
That would be a bad situation in any game, but to make issues worse every Yamagata player was also trying a lot harder than every Avispa player. For a team playing at home it is difficult to understand how that can happen.
Once again we looked to be playing with absolutely no midfield.
Previously this had happened against Nagasaki where Nakahara was the lone midfielder being embarrassed as the ball bypassed him. In this game Nakahara was suspended so Takeda was the only player in midfield.
On paper it looked like we should have had a lot of players in that area with a 4141 formation, but unfortunately the second row of 4 was Ishizu-Jogo-Morimura-Sakai, and none of them were making any effort to get back and help in midfield.
There isn’t a second division in the world where you are able to rely on luxury players. Avispa were carrying 4 of them.
It is easy to then ask why the team is being sent out like that. The reality is that there are no other options for anyone who could play there.
With Nakahara injured the only other midfielders at the club are 19 year old Nozaki or Chris.
I have no idea what anyone can do with this team any more. Whoever is in charge of player recruitment at the club needs to explain why for the 4th season in a row (since we gained promotion with Nakamachi and Sueyoshi) there have been no midfielders at the club.
We played with 1 in this game and he was a guy brought to the club as a left-back.