Monday, 29 March 2010

Agent Orange: I Need A Shower

Nine minutes in to what was shaping up to be an interesting game, a Mr Nobutsugu Murakami made a fateful decison that would pretty much ruin my Sunday. A clumsy challenge by An Yong Hak caused the "Hang in there, Kitty" poster model Naotake Hanyu to writhe around on the ground in mock pain, right up until the red card was shown and the man was off the field. Our man Mr Murakami would not only run the numbers up for FC Tokyo, he also would give Ardija captain Mato Neretljak a yellow for arguing. This would be fateful later when he would run him on a yellow for a late tackle.

Now to be fair, officials make bad decisions all the time. And I believe that the second yellow falls on Mato. My problem with Murakami was that he wasn't consistent in his calls - or rather, he was consistent after the first red. Yuhei Tokunaga showed cleat on leg to a leaping Kazuhiro Murakami, arguably a much more dangerous play because the player was in a more vulnerable position. He gave him a yellow. Then he gives Mato a yellow for a late sliding tackle. Add it up. Murakami math equals Red-Red for Omiya and Yellow for FC Tokyo.

If he calls the first one yellow, it's yellow - yellow - yellow and we still have a game because Mato doesn't get that first card. If he calls An red and Tokunaga red, maybe Mato adjusts and it's ten against ten. Even if he doesn't adjust and gets the red, it's only a one-man advantage and it's still a reasonable game. Instead we got a joke of a second half, where FC Tokyo bumbled around the box like clowns pouring out of a tiny car. Clowns freak me out.

This is the second time in four games where the official made a poor call against us and then "adjusted" in order to be fair. Junpei Iida allowed Vegalta Sendai to foul and dive. Last week, Kazuhiko Matsumura missed a couple big calls and wasn't great, but he was consistent and the players were able to adjust. If you're going to be strict, be consistent. If you're going to be pedantic, be consistent. Mostly, If you're going to be crap, be consistent.


I didn't really like Jang Wae Ryong's starting XI. First, he changed the formation, again. I think that having An as the roving defensive midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation is a good move. I don't know why he didn't slot Naoki Ishihara into Chikara Fujimoto's position and use Yoshihito Fujita against a back four that had 172cm Kenta Mukuhara and 170cm Yuto Nagatomo sandwiching 180cm Masato Morishige and 178cm Yasuyuki Konno; Fujita has size on all of them and Tokyo's two central midfielders weren't any bigger. Ishihara is faster than Hayato Hashimoto by a long shot and if he'd been used in that Fujimoto wide role, it would have forced Naohiro Ishikawa to stay home more instead of cheating down the line.

As for the game itself, it kind of worked in our favor to have the two smaller forwards on the field, because both covered a good amount of defensive ground. Ishihara was especially good on the defensive end in the first half and probably would have stayed on had it not been for a hard and clumsy open field cross body shoulder charge by "Hang in there, Kitty" (who managed to sandwich that in between his two really mock painful ground rolls which got two players sent off... Man of the Match!).

If we had stayed just a single man down, I don't think Tokyo would have scored. We really were frustrating their offense and I think it would have been possible to steal a goal, depending on who was subbed in and when. Ah scratch that last line. Seriously though, that was a gutsy performance by an outmanned team and much better than the one that was on display in Sendai two games ago. Unlike Furtho, I don't really have a problem with any of the substitutions. I think Jang needed guys who could cover ground - we weren't gonna score, so mitigating the damage to our goal differential was key in that situation.

Let's all make fun of FC Tokyo!

I will commend FC Tokyo for their nice banner to Taishi Tsukamoto. It looked like half the stands on the visitor side were chanting along to the Taishi tribute chant... and then they got bored. And started You'll Never Walk Alone halfway through the Taishi chant because maybe they were saying that they were with Taishi with his fight. I'd buy this, but they stomped on the Omiya tribute chant and they didn't mention Taishi in the song. So I'm just gonna with them being self-centered douchebags who can't wait one minute to sing a song that only they want to hear. Nice job!

I almost couldn't watch Sota Hirayama play today, but then I started humming the Benny Hill Theme Song in my head and it made it more bearable. 32 shots, two men up and all they could muster was two goals. The defense and Takashi Kitano were great today and did yeoman's work, but two goals? That's it? Imagine if we had a third man kicked off (which our Murakami was trying his best to achieve), you might have actually scored a third time. Embrace the mediocrity! I know, I know, you were focusing all your energy on your glorious Nabisco Cup defense. April 14th, let's do it again!


Dedicated to today's game...

Orange! Ahhh, hell with it!!



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