Monday, 6 April 2009

No Confidence

I'm not talking about the team with the title of this piece, I'm talking about Ryohei Arai and his 45 minutes of bumbling and misfiring. It's really hard to watch right now, because I think the young man has something that we haven't seen in Omiya Ardija's center midfield in a while. Last night at Kashiwa Reysol you could really see the pressure getting to him. He was aiming every pass, not reacting fast enough, stumbling over his own two feet, and basically negating the man advantage we had before the break.

You could see a real difference between the first half with the kid and the second half with returning captain Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, who was steady for the most part even though it's evident he's not really 100% yet. I swear that Arai's the reincarnation of Jun Marques Davidson. Contrast him with another one of the baby squirrels, Taishi Tsukamoto.

Tsukamoto made a horrific miss on the ball that led to Franca's "hand of obaasan" goal (why "hand of obaasan"? Because he looks like an old woman and he used his hand to steady the ball before he broke away for the goal. That being said, Taishi did screw up). Four minutes later, Omiya gets a free kick just outside the box and Tsukamoto sends a bullet right through Kashiwa's wall and past the keeper. That's a confident player and very rare in Japan. More often than not, that ball goes into the wall or out of the stadium.

Arai probably would have sent it into Chiba Bay. But what do you do about it? Do you have the kid play through it, potentially lose some games in the process and risk damaging his confidence even more? Do you put him on the bench and possibly lose him? There's no easy answer to this. He's an eighteen-year-old kid, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt before ripping him apart. Arai graduated high school last month and is now playing in arguably the most mentally demanding position on the field. I want him to succeed.

Game Comments

Yusuke Murayama reared his ugly head last night at just the right moment, losing track of Masahiro Koga and allowing two precious points to slip away. He was rather ordinary for most of the game, putting a nice header attempt near the goal but otherwise doing nothing great. The good news is that Yasuhiro Hato will be back next week... *shudders*. Where is Park Won Jae when you need him? Speaking of which, Omiya aren't even close to being 100% yet and are still undefeated in all competitions. Only Kashiwa can say that right now.

My Three Stars

1. Masahiko Ichikawa - He hustled the whole night, put three dangerous shots up and drew fouls in very opportune places. Really nice job.

2. Tomoya Uchida - Wonderful way to come back. Should have been the winner.

3. Taishi Tsukamoto - I was having flashbacks to 2006-era Daigo Kobayashi. He almost hit another one on the run of play, but Takanori Sugeno got his fingertips on it.

Finally, big congratulations to Takuro Nishimura, who finally got signed by the Portland Timbers. He had the assist on the late goal for Portland against Takashi Hirano's Vancouver Whitecaps in a friendly on Friday; there's a great picture of the two of them on the Takuro blog, here.

Next week is Gamba; Panasonic did something not so nice, so I'm taking this game personal.

Orange! Grumpy!!!! Football!



  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP