Shoutout to Yoshitsune for being the funniest person in this whole episode, which was very needed due to the amount of STRESS that was bubbling over with all of the other players. I loved his light-heartedness when interacting with Aoi, but he’s still able to provide honesty in the conversation. Although… If it weren’t for some injuries that happened in this episode, I think that the conversation between the two would have proved dangerous.

“I’ll go back to how I was before.” NO AOI! That is in fact the opposite of progress! I get that you want to be a forward and that you aren’t having fun on the defender line, but please consider the rest of your team! You are a whole team and not just a single person! And I get that watching Yoshitsune play makes it seem like you only need to rely on one person, but it takes a whole team to get the ball to the goal. Plus, if your opponent is smart enough to target your exceptional player you are kind of left scrambling because you put all of your eggs in one bucket. Which we see in this episode! As we enter into the second half, Aoi’s team talks about giving the ball to Yoshitsune and not much else in terms of strategy. While that may work if you are playing an average team, this doesn’t necessarily work at the level they are playing at. Yoshitsune is good, but he’s not that good.

Is it bad to say that I’m glad that Ishikki got injured? Strictly in the sense that it helped to prevent Aoi from falling into a rut? With the injury Nozomi was able to make a change to the team’s system which allowed Aoi to experience both offense and defense at the same time. Of course as an outside viewer, I get why we wanted to place Aoi in the back, but that’s not something that Aoi has been able to fully understand. Now that he’s closer to the center he can practice both and see how they work in tandem. Many games ago, Aoi would have just been shouting for people to give him the ball and trying to score all by himself, but now he’s getting much more comfortable using the rest of his team to support what he is trying to do. Quickly, he’s able to implement the triangle with Yoshitsune and Ohtomo which allows them to successfully make it all the way down the field. Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite get them the score, but when the ball comes flying back to him (where he is much further back) he is able to come up with 4 possible solutions (well, technically he only shared three, but he mentioned 4). First, he could score for his own, kick the ball slightly to the right and take a clear shot. But, that likely leads to a lot of time for the goalie to prevent the goal from coming back since it is coming from such a distance. Second, there’s the opportunity to send it over to Tachibana. Unfortunately, Tachibana is still in his slump which leaves a lot in the air as to if the maneuver would be successful. And finally, we have getting the ball to Togashi who ultimately headbutts the ball into the goal. Which works! And it’s pretty cool considering that two fullbacks are able to get the goal!

While I still think Aoi has a long way to go, it has been really nice seeing how much he has improved. He still has a bit of a bratty attitude, but he’s getting better and understanding a whole lot more about the game and strategy that he previously did not have. Good job Aoi! Fukuda’s proud of you, but you still have much to learn!

But now that this match is over with, we have the Musashino match coming up next which is going to be intense to say the least. We’ve already run into some of the players and boy, at least one of them is ready to take them down (or at least the try-out trio that made it in). But on top of that, we really need to address what is going on with Tachibana. He’s truly going through it. He’s lost his confidence in the game and has fallen into a rut. He’s even requested to be pulled from the next game because he believes he is unable to contribute anything. If we don’t do something quick, he’s probably going to bow out of the team as a whole. Please don’t leave Tachibana! You are a valuable player, just we might not have found your stride yet!

And so it seems we’re going to go and observe the Musashino game in order to learn more about their play style. Hopefully that will inspire or motivate the try-out trio for how to approach the next game. Of course, there’s always the possibility that it will make things worse, but we’re hoping for the best! There won’t be an episode next week so we will have to wait 2 weeks to see what happens, and I am at the edge of my seat! I hope everything turns out okay!!

Quietcupcake

I live up to my username, but I hope we can be friends!

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