It’s well known that a large crowd (or lack thereof) can have a dramatic psychological impact on a team’s performance. Unfortunately for Saitama’s soccer team, Omiya Ardija, it was hard for fans to get out to the ground to cheer during the Wednesday night J-League Cup qualification match against the Tokushima Vortis.

Nevertheless, those who managed to make it to the stadium went the extra mile to get their team pumped for a win, taking along an army of two-dimensional fans to fill seats.

Watching the game on TV, you could see that the attendance is patchy, but small clusters of fans for both sides can be spotted. At least that’s what you’re led to believe anyway. One Twitter user caught a glimpse of what was really going on for a moment when the TV cameras cut to the crowd.

Indeed, it would seem the few brave souls out on a work night have erected a bleacher-full of fans made of cardboard. They even clothed all of their 2-D supporters in Omiya jerseys. Well, almost everyone is. One guy’s rocking a Yomiuri Giants baseball jersey, but at least the color is close enough.

Did it work? Perhaps. Omiya managed to tie Tokushima 1-1 by scoring off a fortunate deflection after a corner kick. Maybe goal scorer Kosuke Kikuchi got that extra boost of energy after glancing over and seeing his adoring fans’ faces smiling back at him.

How could this guy not make you psyched to win?

Source: Twitter via Toychan (Japanese)
Video: YouTube – Soccer Channel

Highlights from the game.