Monday, 9 August 2010

Agent Orange: Irrational Exuberance‏

Well, wins in a row are now on the books and Omiya finds itself in the lofty position of fourteenth at the season mid-point. It's nice to not be in relegation territory - and a relief. What is also nice is to have had a pretty comfortable win for a change. We managed to sandwich fifteen weeks of pure, nails-on-chalkboard agony in between two dominant 3-0 wins. Are we better now than the Squirrels team that beat Cerezo Osaka oh so long ago on the opening day of the season? I'm not sure. We're different. I think we are more hardened by going through an awful period, but I'm not sure.

It's really hard to judge what kind of team we are by that one game. Saturday's match against Shonan Bellmare was far more about the opponent than it was about us. At times it had the tension and drama of a training match. For the first time in my six years of following Omiya, I found myself disappointed that we only won by three goals. Did I just say that? I'm disappointed that we only won by three goals.

It happens almost every year: one team is just worse than everyone else. We had the awful Kazu Miura Vissel Kobe squad in 2005, the underwhelming 2006 edition of Kyoto Sanga, 2007 and the historically bad Yokohama FC squad, 2008 and an overmatched Consadole Sapporo and then the twin disasters last year of Oita Trinita and JEF United. Of all the teams I've seen over the years, that Shonan team was the worst.

At no time during the game did it look like they were going to challenge. From start to finish it was an Omiya game (how many times have we been able to say that?). The fact that Hayato Hashimoto was playing and failing, and Chikara Fujimoto has the raw shooting power of Hello Kitty were the only reasons the score was lower than it should have been.

I feel bad for Bellmare because they've had a rough ten years since Hide Nakata packed his Louis Vuitton bag and headed to Europe to be an international star/philanthropist/unbearable twat... er, media icon. Last year was kind of a shock promotion considering the players on their roster. They don't really have the funds to spend on J1 players, so they rely on prospects and journeymen who are past their prime. They possibly fielded the worst pair of sidebacks since that one time we opted for Yusuke Murayama and Kohei Tokita. They just don't have the talent to compete.

It was a little sad to see them get booed after the game, because the effort was there. They didn't quit in the game when they could have. Jean Carlo Witte, a nine-year veteran of the J-League (and a guy who was cut by FC Tokyo four years ago because he was too old) had the play of the game when he ran down Chikara Fujimoto's open-netted shot (Hello Kitty... put something behind the shot!) and cleared it off the line at the last minute, after Ryota Tsuzuki whiffed (there's a guy I don't feel sorry for... in his six games for Shonan, he's let in a whopping fifteen goals. That's payback for being an Urawa Reds goon).

I don't want to dump on them. That happens too much, often by fans of teams who aren't too far away from being in relegation danger themselves, have gone down before, and have higher payrolls. It's too early to consider yourself safe. I remember in April, Vegalta Sendai were the talk of the J-League; twelve winless weeks later and they are on the wrong side of the relegation line. I guess what I'm saying is tap the brakes. We got a long way to go.

You Can Take The Dudu Out Of Omiya, Can You Take The Omiya Out Of Dudu?

Omiya's favorite Brazilian underachiever, Dudu, has been released from his contract after almost a year of disappointment and injury, sprinkled with moments of promising play. If any one player represented the Jang Wae Ryong era at Omiya, it was Dudu. Somehow I can't hate the guy. I never got the chance to meet him but he always seeemed like a really nice guy. He always was smiling or doing fun things with his hair, and I like that.

A little bit of me always rooted for him when he came on, even though I pictured disaster. When he played all those Nabisco Cup games, I thought he would be in Jun Suzuki's plans for the rest of the year. I didn't think he was playing well but I thought he was doing enough to get a small role off the bench. The Yokohama F Marinos game looked like a breakthrough for Dudu - ten minutes of solid production, combined with some great passes. Now he's gone.

Now word comes that Korean World Cup veteran Lee Ho will be signed to help the midfield. That's not a bad move. I'm wondering which player gets moved out to make way for him, Takuya Aoki or Shin Kanazawa. I'd go with Shin just because Aoki has more upside, but I don't know. Anyways, it's nice to see that the team is taking the midfield problem seriously.

Three Is A Magic Number

Since our little voyage into J1 began over five years ago, Omiya has yet to produce a hat-trick or win three games in a row. I'm just putting it out there that we might want to start a new trend next week against fifteenth-placed Jubilo Iwata.


Tough week ahead... we need results. Now is not the time to be faithless.

Winning feels good, doesn't it? Orange! Happy Again!! Football!!!



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