Friday, March 10, 2006


My good friend Matsu at Rising Sun News pointed out to me that the mystery striker who played for Kazuki Hiramoto in the ACL match against Ulsan Horang was actually Brazilian and Chinese league veteran Masaki Saito. El Golazo actually liked his performance against the Korean champs and I like the kids upside, so here's hoping we get to see a little more of him in the future.

Another couple of's been going around that Verdy used a second string squad for this game and that's not entirely accurate...........7 of the 11 starters in the Vortis game trotted out in the first 11 for Verdy on Wednesday. Those who sat included Hideki Nagai (who was pulled in the 45th minute of the J2 opener because of ineffective play and replaced by the much more effective Anailson.....who started), Taisei Fujita ( who struggled in the Vortis game and was replaced by the much speedier and presumptive starter Tomo Sugawara.), Kazuki Hiramoto (Who wasn't very effective in game 1 but a higher quality than Saito), and Masahiro Ohashi.

Of the 4 replacements, I'd say 2 were questionable and Ohashi probably would have made a difference with free kicks and his Basilio connection. I think Ramos used this match as a high speed training match. They represented the league well considering the inequality in talent between the two squads.

If I had to rate Ruy on coaching and management in his first week, I'd give him an 8 (out of 10)........he has kept his eye on the prize (promotion) and he didn't embarrass himself (coaching wise anyhow) on an international stage.

What was embarrassing was the attendance. 4,436 people came out for the match. Wednesday night football.......It's fantastic! It actually was better than the Gamba/Chonbuk match in Korea......only 2,700 turned up for that game.

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