Saturday, September 30, 2006

Now playing the part of Ned Beatty.....

Vissel Kobe and that would make Verdy the hillbilly. Deliverance is synonomous with fat, happy guys getting violated in the most painful area and Vissel came in to Tokyo one fat and happy squad, coasting easily into the first division. But then something bad happened, very bad. They played the game.

It looked like just another Vissel/Verdy matchup with Hideo Tanaka hitting an early goal. Then the onslaught began. Nozomi Hiroyama continued his string of in form games with a notch in the 35th minute. Shell shocked, Vissel let Marcus notch one in the 37th. 3 minutes later, Togawa hit on a shot. And just like that it was 3-1

Then, Verdy reverted back to their old form, picking up 3 yellows and allowing Tanaka to cut the lead to one. Would Verdy find another way to drop one to Vissel?

No! the other legs of the Verdy Brazilian triad banged in scores (Silva in the 73rd and Ze Luis in the 85th) finalizing the score at 5-2. The win cuts the Vissel lead for the playoff spot to 15 points with only 9 to play. Daunting task, but has entered the final 1/4 at 3-0-0.


Ultranippon posed a question about why Verdy has been so erratic this season and I'd like to answer it now

1. Big turnover and poor choices in the midfield- Nick mentioned it in the comments that Verdy lost a lot of talent when they were dropped into J2. The place they got hurt the worst was in the midfield, losing young branch player Takahito Soma and playmaker Daigo Kobayashi to the Saitama squads took a bite out the creativity of the squad. Losing big striker Washington also killed alot of scoring momentum. The main players brought in for creative aspects and playmaking (Masahiro Ohashi, Harutaka Ono, and Anailson) were erratic at best.

2. Imported talent was less than overwhelming- The original trio of Basilio, Anailson and Dedimar can be finally summed up by the acronym of their three names......BAD. By bringing in smallish older players who are prone to breaking down during a long season, Ramos took a gamble that failed miserably. Basilio was unfortunate to get injured and by far the best of the three. Anailson was caught in a constant shuffle in the midfield, and Dedimar was dismal. We are now beginning to see the effects of having an effective foreign presence on the squad.

3. Constant lineup shuffles- The changes from game to game took a heavy toll. The downside of having alot of options is that you tend to micromanage and Ramos did that to the nth degree. Forwards you can interchange, branches a little less so, but the spine always needs to be as consistent as possible. And it wasn't.

4. Injuries- Every team has to go through it but Verdy was hit at it's heart when annointed leader Harutaka Ono went down for what looks like the season. After a slow start, Ono was starting to become the anchor of the midfield........disaster struck and Verdy lost the middle of the season trying to find a combination. The back 4 also got hit with injuries. Morimoto never was able to catch up with the team after graduation and the injury. Basilio never was the same after the Consadole ding.

5. Lack of discipline early- The squad couldn't control themselves and picked up stupid yellows and devastating reds. Set play miscues and own goals were shots in the foot that the team was never able to recover from.

It all kind of links together and it would be easy to throw it all in the lap of Ramos but it is a whole team breakdown that happened this year. I didn't even touch on the lack of talent that 69 had to start or the age of the squad.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Grabbag O' Stuff

The only thing more dangerous than Ronaldhino in the open field is the space between Rui Ramos and a camera. Here a poor child feels the wrath of Rui after trying to steal the Green ones face time.

Wednesday's slate of games had some serious ramifications for J2 in general and Verdy in particular. Yokohama, Kashiwa, and Kobe all stretched their leads with commanding victories over Vegalta Sendai, Mito Hollyhock, and Sagan Tosu. Verdy managed to drop down to 7th even with a bye because of a commanding 6-0 thrashing by Consadole Sapporo over Tokushima Vortis. The fallout from the loss was the final straw for the Pocari Sweaters, who axed their coach.

A little over a hour lasts before Verdy makes possibly their final stand against a Vissel team that has had the run of luck against them.

Except for the point accumulation suspended Shin Kanazawa, the lineup shows little change except for the midfield.


Kaimoto Togawa Hagimura Ishikawa


Ze Luis Ohashi


Hirayama Silva

Hagimura, Tomisawa,Kina, Kuba, Hiramoto

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Good news, Great news, bad news, and so-so news

Didn't get a chance to post the story on Montedio vs Verdy because of Sports Day at my junior high school (teacher not a student, just to clear it up). I ran in the staff vs. 1st grade girl class 600 meter relay. I had to run 50 meters, our team was in second when I started and 5th when I was done. Out of 5 teams. Afterwards, one of my students, who neeeeeeeeeeever speaks English made a point to tell me in english........DON'T RUN! DIET!

OK, I'm a big fatty......ON TO THE NEWS


Wow, talk about a team needing one guy. Montedio came in without El golazo's highest ranked J2 player and Yamagata scoring leader, Leandro. I have no idea why. Anyhow, Verdy went with a strange midfield of Ze Luis, Kanazawa, Kuba, and Ohashi to go along with forwards Silva and Hiroyama, DF Kaimoto, Togawa, Hagimura, and Ishikawa and big Takagi.

Verdy came out strong and had the lions share of possesion and shots. The most dangerous play came in the early minutes, when Kuba shot a bomb off the crossbar. It seemed like the forwards and mids were just missing on extra passes and half shot balls in the box. Montedio looked a bit shell shocked and had no real offensive push.

In the second half, the only goal of the game came off a stunning cross from Ishikawa to Nozomi Hiroyama, who put a clean header into the back of the net. The team seemed to lose a little something when Ramos subbed in Kina, Tomisawa, and Hiramoto. Kina was especially bad (surprise!). He started with a weak shot, lost possesion, fouled a player, lost possesion, got a yellow card, took a pass in the box, had the keeper out of position with 2 Verdy players wide open in the box and chose to take a weak shot through the keepers legs that was easily cleared away by a Montedio defender.

Good effort, bad execution, reasonable result. 1-0 Green.

Yokohama and Vegalta miss a chance to nail shut the coffin

It seems like both Vegalta and Yokohama FC are slipping a bit. Vegalta dropped a 1-0 result to Sagan Tosu in Tosu............the shocker of the day however was the match at National Stadium between Yokohama FC and bottom feeders Thespa Kusatsu. Kusatsu stunned Yokohama FC with a 2-0 result. Is Yokohama feeling the pressure? Have the rest of the league figured out the pale blue bombers? Why are teams from Shimizu and Yokohama playing home games in Tokyo? If I'm really so fat, shouldn't I run more? These questions are gonna keep me up all night!

Vissel gets a game in hand and Kashiwa gets another point

Vissel had the bye and Kashiwa got into a scoreless draw with the atrocious Tokushima Vortis, who feature not one, but two Verdy midfielders from loans.

So if you're keeping score at home

16 points behind Kashiwa
15 points and a game behind Vissel
14 points behind Yokohama FC
5 points behind Vegalta
1 point behind Sagan

I think a great goal for Verdy right now is to finish 4th. If they manage to get 4th in the final 10 games, that would be a great thing to build on.

If Machiavelli had his own league he'd probably call it this!

The Prince league is going on right now. Featuring 24 of the best U-18 teams in the country. Verdy youth is one of those teams. After finishing 1st in the group stages and dispatching of their round of 16 opponent.......young Verdy dropped a game to Hashimoto High school today in the round of 8. After Osama El Samni notched a last minute goal to force a shootout, Hashimoto was able to blank the boys 3-0 in shootouts. Congratulations to the lads for putting up a good fight.......good sign for the future!

That's all for tonight...........coming soon is a preview of the Emperors cup game against Tochigi SC........WHO?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Estafadorverdista vs. Soilent Green!!!!!!

My Chilean friend at El Verdy es lo Mas Grande made his own opinions known on who to keep and who to cut

I give you a comaprison!


Soilent Green EstafadorVerdista
Takagi keep keep
Mizuhara cut cut
Tokizawa keep keep


Yanagisawa cut cut
Hagimura cut keep
Togawa keep keep
Aoba ? keep
Kaimoto keep keep
Ishikawa keep keep
Nagano ? keep
Iida ? cut
Fujita ?/cut cut
Uemura cut cut
Tomisawa keep ?
Killoran keep cut
Ichiyanagi keep keep


Ze Luis keep keep
Marcus keep keep
Sugawara keep ?
Nagai keep cut
Ono keep keep
Ohashi cut cut
Kina cut cut
Kuba keep keep
Maatsura cut cut
Yuhei ? ?
Tsurumaki keep ?


Kijima ? cut
Hiramoto ? keep
Saitoh ? keep
Hiroyama keep keep
Silva keep keep

Pretty close except for Hagimura!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

K,C, or ??????????????? the midfield

Let's just dive right in-

Kento Tsurumaki-youth player under 20, hasn't appeared in a real game

Verdict:why not.....keep him

Masatomo Kuba- Had a rough spell near the end of his first team time but has a spark and hustles. I like him as the second or third sub off the bench when a boost is needed. in the right role, he'd be really effective. Still only 22, I like him

Verdict: keep him

Tetsuhiro Kina- Ohhhhhhh, not a fun player to watch at all. I HATE when Kina comes into a game. For a veteran player he is really ineffective and kills numerous drives.

Verdict: get rid of him......tonight

Shingo Nejime: He falls in the Kuba category. Good D mid, probably more effective off the bench. Homegrown kid, put him with Kuba and that's the start of a decent midfield for years if allowed to grow.

Verdict:keep him

Shin Kanazawa: He had a rough beginning to his Verdy career but showed alot of heart and fought his way back into the starting lineup. As a big fan of the Orange squirrels of Saitama, it has truly been a pleasure to watch Omiya's prince grow into a strong defensive midfielder. This one is a question mark for me because (as usual) I have no clue what Miura is thinking.

Verdict: ?

Harutaka Ono: "The Captain" was downright pathetic in the early stages of his regime. Ono managed to turn it around but suffered a devastating injury midseason that has rendered him inactive to this day. If one player epitomizes the Rui regime, it is Herr Ramos handpicked leader, erratic and sometimes brilliant but broken and disappointing in the final verdict. That being said, Ono is a perfect complimentary midfielder. Take off the leadership burden and I think Ono would produce next year.

Verdict: Keep

Marcus: Is this the foreign equivalent of Ono? I wondered why Kawasaki let him go and Verdy got him on the cheap but recent performaces are starting to unfortunately show glimmers of why Marcus isn't top division. Too erratic for the top shelf and sometimes is prone to bad judgement. Kind of a selfish player but that's not a bad thing for an attacker.

Verdict: Better than what was here before (Anailson, etc...) ehhhh...keep him

Ze Luis- Not my favorite player and I really don't know if he's a d mid or a branch player but he's growing on me. the goals don't hurt.

Verdict: Why not, keep him

Tomo Sugawara- I like him alot, not the most skilled player in the world but he's one of the veteran "character" guys that actually has produced. He was able to fill in as a defender but plays better as a mid.

Verdict: keep him

Masahiro Ohashi- If they played every game in the National Stadium, I'd keep him but alas they don't. Sooooooooooooooo erratic. He's kind of a soft player, too. Killer free kick but not much else.

Verdict: cut

Hideki Nagai- I hated this signing at the beginning. Wow an old retread coming back to Verdy......great! But he turned me around. I kind of like him on the squad....he's slow but he's gutty and smart. 20 to 40 minutes is about all he's good for but it's enough.

Verdict: Keep

Toda (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Tamano and Ono (Tokushima Vortis)- Toda can stay in Sanfrecce forever, don't care to see him again. I would like to see him play for Atletico Madrid just so Beckham has nightmares. Tamano and Ono are guys I'd like to see come back......if they could get playing time. Tokushima twins are a question.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cut, keep, or ????? Defenders

Arguably the weakest link in the Verdy winning chain, Ramos has struggled to put a consistent unit on the field. Verdy is currently ranked 11th in goals allowed with 55, only besting Thespa Kusatsu and Tokushima Vortis.

I'm not sure exactly where to begin so I just will

Masayuki Yanagisawa: the best thing that can be said for Yanagi is that he is very popular with the fans. He has a blog and he does alot of the fan promotions and public events. Off the field, he is one guy that you would like other athletes to be more like. On the field, he's awful. He's short, he's slow, he gets caught out of position and he is easily injured. Bump him up to the front office, let him set up a lower level team like JEF Ichiharas JFL squad or have him put on the Verdykun suit and play with the kids. DON'T LET HIM ON THE FIELD AGAIN!

Verdict: you have to ask?

Masaki Iida: 20 year old defender from Ryutsu Keizai University hasn't been seen around Verdy parts lately but he has some potential. He's a big kid, which is something lacking in the back 4. I don't know if he's still with the squad. If he is, keep him on.

Verdict: ?

Kenta Togawa: Not my favorite player on Verdy's squad, possibly played the worst game I've ever seen a defender not named Dedimar play against Kashiwa in the 4-1 massacre. But, and this is a very big, bigger than Flavios butt but, he has worked very hard to redeem himself and has played some decent football in his return. Midsized and medium speed, he's only 25 and still has some time to learn how to play the position right.

Verdict: Keep

Takaki Shigemitsu, Takumi Hayama, and Naoki Mihara: Of the three, Mihara is the least finished product. none of them have made a mark this season and none of them have gotten a match. Hayama is going to be 28, Shigemitsu 24 and Mihara 20.

Verdict: Keep Shigemitsu, loan Mihara to Tokushima and cut Hayama

Satoshi Nagano: considering Avispa is gonna get gutted after the presumed drop to J2 (unless they start turning it around behind Iio magic), there's probably no chance of keeping him. He's played allright in the games he got into and he's probably better than one of the 4 in the lineup (here's a hint.....he plays in the middle and he's not Togawa).

Verdict: ?

Taisei Fujita: He tries hard but he's not very good. He's been replaced by Ishikawa and Kaimoto as the branch. He's been a pro for 6 years since he was 18 years old so the potential is arguably there but he's not improving in a huge way.

Verdict: ?/cut- let's see if he gets some play in the final 4th

Yugo Ichiyanagi: A few rocky performances for the U-21 Japan team player but hey, he's young and he's got a good amount of talent

Verdict:easy call.......keep

Yukihiro Aoba: I don't understand why Ramos has messed around with Aoba's playing time. he has performed well in D and the midfield when he's got a chance but it seems like Rui has to have his favorites back in the lineup no matter how bad they perform (not a trait that is limited to Rui alone). He's a decent player who is getting stunted by the Rui shuffle and it does him no good to not play on a mediocre second division squad. Keep him and play him or don't and let him go.

Verdict: ?

Koijiro Kaimoto and Tatsuya Ishikawa: Joined the squad at the same time and after a couple of rocky patches are starting to really solidify the back 4. Great at getting the offense started. My only complaint is that Ishikawa needs half of Kaimotos aggression.

Verdict: Kaimoto keep and Ishikawa ? (depending on what Kashima wants)

Seitaro Tomisawa: He was a guy that fans were really happy to have back. He got hurt early but has come back to fill in nicely in small spurts. It gets kinda dicey when Tomisawa plays for longer stretches.

Verdict: Keep him

Kenichi Uemura: 1 game, not very good. 32 years upside. Average size. Doesn't do anything particularly well

Verdict: cut

Eugene Killoran: the Irish youth has one year left before he hits 20 and a decision has to be made on making him a senior international. No reason to cut him until then

Verdict: keep

Shigenori Hagimura: Wow, where to begin? The former Reysol stalwart was brought in after a less than impressive stint in Niigata to be the veteran anchor for a Verdy backline that was shaken to the core. Hagimura seemingly has the veteran acumen, the experience, and the size to be the anchor for reemergence. WTF happened? He follows a decent performance with a stinking bomb of a game, making mental mistakes that would make the greenest rookie blush.

At least two times this season Hagimura has notched goals for the opposition. Moreover, he has managed to aid and assist on a few others. A player with that much experience shouldn't be that mentally lax. What a waste.

Verdict: I'd hope that Joe Pesci would do his pen dance ala Goodfellas but that's a little harsh so let's just cut him and wish him good luck in his new role as Mito centerback.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Verdy wrapped their season series with the Mikan Madmen of Ehime. Led by Silvas 2 goals, Verdy managed to take the season series against Ehime (2-1-1) and knock them out of any chance for promotion officially. Unfortunately for Verdy, top table sitters Vissel Kobe, Yokohama FC and Kashiwa all managed to get the full three points on the day.

Now we know that Tokushima, Ehime, and Thespa Kusatsu will all be on the J2 schedule. We also know that Avispa Fukuoka is likely to be this years Vissel and head on down to second city barring a miraculous turnaround or collapse by a combination of 3 teams.

Verdy decided to go with most of the same crew that went up against Yokohama FC. No sign of Saitoh in the lineup and Hiramoto did not see any time. One bit of unfortunate news for the Verdy squad is the booking of midfield stalwart Marcus. Next game will earn the crafty vet a one game siesta against a dangerous Montedio squad regaining the services of Verdykiller Leandro who has managed to notch 3 goals in 3 games against ganggreen. Nozomi Hirayama managed to notch the only in the July 22 game which saw an irate Montedio fanbase go after the Verdy bus following a controversial performance by the referee squad.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Sorry......for some reason I wasn't getting e-mail notifications on the seems my yahoo account has decided that the comments are spam but Nigerian dude offering me millions of dollars from a local princes diamond mine is something I would absolutely be interested in. so I'm letting the shackles off of the site until I get inundated with Viagra ads and site links for ladyboys in heat.

Not that there's anything wrong with it

I just got a pack of J Chips and found this card for Tokyo's "Other" team..........It's a little hard to read but the title is "GRAB THE CHANCE AND SCORE" and it looks like both guys are going for the man booty. Unintentionally funniest J league card ever.

In other Tokyo news.....Verdy signed three youngsters to be up with the big boys

Ryo Nakane and Shun Takagi will be the 4th and 5th keepers for Verdy and Osama Elsamni will vie for some forward time.

Grab the chance and score......EWWWWWWW

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Magic numbers to Oblivion

Congratulations to Tokushima Vortis who have absolutely no chance whatsoever of promotion

Here are the magic numbers for continuation of the J2 demolition derby

Thespa Kusatsu-4 (combination of point losses or point gains by Vissel, Kashiwa, and Yokohama FC)

Ehime FC- 5

Mito- 12

Shonan- 12

Montedio- 17


Consadole- 19

Sagan- 22

Vegalta- 29

Yokohama-35 (straight promotion)

Kashiwa and Vissel are currently in danger of being promoted

Also, we have some sad news for Gamba Osaka, who can only qualify for J2 by dropping every game by alot and then losing to the 3rd place J2 squad.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Ric Okasek post

Because Verdy shakes it up!

Yuhei Ono is off to Vortis. The 21 year old midfielder and Verdy Youth product played in 1 game for about 12 minutes. He gets to team up with fellow V youth Jun Tamano

Takaya Kurokawa is headed to JEF Chiba via Shimizu. Kurokawa had fallen off the depth chart this season and will benifit from a fresh start.

Finally ZAKZAK has Ramos talking again out his posterior, saying he was inquiring about picking up Kazu next year.

I figured it was coming....Yokohama on the rise, Ramos trying to get the band back together, nothin else to talk about........MEH!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Keep,Cut or ?.......Strikers

Round 2

Ryosuke Kijima- Is he even with the team anymore? Good for the sattelites I suppose?

Verdict: ???????

Kohei Kiyama and Je Chun Moon- 2 projects who are very young. A loan to a regional league or JFL side might not be a bad thing.................FC Ryuukyu, we're calling you! Korean international Moon will hit the magic 20 in April so a decision needs to be made on him soon. I don't think he'll be one of the 3 senior internationals.

Verdict: ??????? with a nod to loaning out

Silva- I wasn't impressed in the first 10 minutes but then I saw the man run across the field to try for a ball that 98 percent of the strikers in J1/J2 would have let die. He has nice control of the ball and a fair touch. 22 years old and waiting to have a break out year. If they can get him outright, I do it in a heartbeat.

Verdict: KEEP HIM

Nozomi Hiroyama- Before the Yokohama game, I would have absolutely said see ya to Hiroyama but he surprised me with his nice passing, hustle, and good touch on the crosses. An ideal guy to put with a scoring minded midfielder like Marcus and a ballhawk. I think the midfielder background helps him to be the distributor.

Verdict: Keep

Koji Maatsura- Looked completely clueless in the forward position. If he's not good enough to win a midfield start, he has no business being on the team. Hustler but has no touch whatsoever and he loses his footing too quickly.

Verdict: Cut

Masaki "Big Martin" Saitoh- Possibly the best pick-up of the Ramos regime, Saitoh opened alot of eyes with his nice passing and physical play up front. Lately, however, he has seem to hit the wall not only physically but mentally. It seems like ruy has him on a shorter hook than some others on the team who underachieve. If Ramos stays, I believe it will continue and it will do Saitoh and the team no good. If a new coach comes in, I think Saitoh can bring it up a notch.

Verdict: ????????

Kazuki Hiramoto- Arguably the most gifted athlete on the field, Hiramoto tends to fade in and out of games. There is no excuse for that and the blame lies with both the player and the coaching. Like Saitoh, it does Hiramoto no good to stay with a less than stable environment.

Verdict: ?????????????

Takayuki Morimoto and Kazunori Iio- I don't bring these guys back for different reasons. Morimoto could absolutely use the international exposure to mature his game. He was trapped in the erratic dips in strategy and tactics and it showed. I think the Serie might do the trick in bringing out toughness in the prodigy. I don't like Iio as a player.......he's not pleasant to watch and he rarely if ever gets results. He's kind of delicate and he is careless with the ball.

Verdict: Morimoto-Keep.....him in Europe; Iio- Send him to the farthest most dismal league possible on a free transfer.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Tokyo soccer and the Yokohama game

Sota Hirayama news in a moment, but Eyewitness report of the Kazu derby.

It was my first Verdy game live in over a month and I thought it was going to be another dog. The good news was that it was being held in my favorite Verdy venue, Nishigaoka stadium (or as Ken Matsushima of Rising Sun News likes to call it.........the dump). Maybe it's the intimate surroundings, the illusion of a full house, the relatively close proximity to the field (from a spectator point of view), or the fact that Verdy seems to do well there. Whatever, anyways that was one thing that was looking up in Verdy's favor. The downside was the opponent, Yokohama FC. The road trip to Nissan stadium had to be one of the most excruciatingly dull exercises in bunker ball I've had the misfortune of seeing in my short time as a fan of the beautiful game. The bane of every footie fans existence, the 0-0 tie, loomed large as the squads took the field.

The lineups were announced with a few surpises. Big Takagi took his rightful place between the pipe for Team Green, filling in for the imminently overmatched Mizuhara. Ramos then went with a back 4 of Ishikawa, Togawa, Hagimura, and Kaimoto.You might remember this group from the last game of Kazunori Iio, a 4-1 debacle to Kashiwa Reysol at Hitachi which sent the team into an upheaval. the midfield was a virtually unchanged quartet of Ze Luis, Marcus, Kanazawa, and Sugawara. The big shock however was in the front line. New scoring machine Silva was paired with perennial practice player Nozomi Hirayama. Scoring leader Hiramoto found himself on the bench and Masa Saito found himself in the cheap seats.

What happened next was nothing short of inspiring. Both teams attacked. And kept attacking. Hiroyama and Silva hustled for loose balls, Togawa muscled up on goal a game former Sanga striker Alemon, Ze Luis and Kanazawa found themselves in good positions for scoring. Sugeno found himself in the middle of an assault. At this point, I put the pen down and just watched the game. Ze Luis barely missed with a header off the far post. Kunihiko Takizawa countered with a dangerous shot that ricocheted off the crossbar. Alemon, who at this point was in a fascinating personal battle with Togawa, took a shot that caught Takagi flatfooted......fortunately for Verdy, the ball hit in the same place as Takizawas thunderous shot and bounced harmlessly away.

Finally, Ze Luis took first blood with yet another header off a cross. 1-0 Verdy and the half ended.

The second half became more chippy and intense as Defender (and constant Soilent Green whipping boy) got into minor physical shenanigans with GK Sugeno and Alemon. 15 minutes in, Alemon would draw Yokohama level with a quick strike from outside the box. An akward angle leaving Takagi vulnerable. The last 30 minutes saw Yokohama get more control of the line of play but both teams failed to threaten after that . A couple of yellows for Verdy, a couple of stoppages for Augustos "tragic" injuries and the game was in the books. Play was good, both teams were good, and the refs (with the exception of a few borderline play-ons in the box for Yokohama) were competent. 1-1 final.....a fitting result to an entertaining match.

The thing I liked most about the game was the intensity and focus that Verdy played with during the game. I loved seeing Hirayama scramble for loose balls and Silva make diving, all-out efforts on balls that seemed hopeless. The passes were crisp and the team played at a higher speed than usual. Things actually slowed down with the loping Hiramoto on the substitution. Kudos to Ramos for putting a guy in who was 100% effort and hustle, Hirayama actually played like a guy who was all about the green. It was one of the few times we saw a team effort that could be considered "THE VERDY WAY".

Even though the result probably crippled Verdy's hopes for promotion, the effort was more than welcome. The team needs to build on it for next year's campaign and guys who can't bring this kind of effort need to be shown the door.

If anybody saw the match or has views on the last fourth of the 2006 campaign please send in your views!

Sota Hirayama to Tokyo?

The shock news that Dutch league phenom Sota Hirayama was turning his back on Eurostardom in order to come back and continue his studies has caused tidal waves of speculation. The latest one has Hirayama suiting up for FC Tokyo

Sponichi Annex of Sports and Naughty pictures

According to reports at least 10 squads in J1 and Vissel Kobe in J2 have put in bids for the 21 year old phenom. Nikkan Sports had a report that Gamba Osaka was dropped earlier because they couldn't match the price. Others who have been named in news reports included Kashima (prefectural neighbor with Sota's chosen university.....Tsukuba Daigaku), Both Osaka squads, Avispa Fukuoka, and FC Tokyo. Reports from numerous papers also stated that the process would be completed soon in order for Hirayama to start training with the U-21s in preparation for Beijing Olympic qualifiers.

Arguably, FC Tokyo has alot to offer Hirayama. A plethora of young talent and an attacking style allows Hirayama to make his mark in a hurry. A signing like this also lengthens the chasm between FC Tokyo and current second squad Verdy, entrenching FC Tokyo as the capital team. Tokyo is turning blue.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Keep, Cut, or question-Goalkeepers

With 3 teams seperating Verdy from a chance at promotion and an almost insurmountable double digit point deficit staring the Vultures square in the melon, Soilent Green thought it would be interesting to evaluate who should stay, who should go, and who just is so inconsistent that we can't wrap our minds around it. Anyhow let's start the fun with keepers

Yoshinari Takagi- The artist formerly known as the dandelion has been a solid contributor to the squad this year. While he hasn't been as stellar as Reysols Yuta Minami or Yokohama FC stalwart Takenori Sugeno, his play has been the one bright spot in an especially porous defense. Speculation is that Takagi will be back between the pipes tomorrow when Verdy takes on the FC in a must win match. Even with his recent stumble, Takagi has proven that he is more than up to the task of being a keeper in the second division. Another factor is his age......27.....which is still relatively young for a keeper. One of the few guys who grew up in the Verdy system, I doubt he gets cut or leaves for J1

The verdict: KEEP

Hiroki Mizuhara-The older head in the two headed monster that manned Verdy's nets. Mizuhara has been less than impressive in his appearances for the mighty green. Soft goals to Sagan Tosu has to have Ramos wondering if there isn't something better out there (or in-house) for Verdy. The high point of his career was leading Yokohama FC in J2. 6 years ago. He'd be a good back-up for a team with a young keeper and no hopes of promotion but not in a team that needs a strong threat to push the number 1.

The verdict: CUT

Takaya Kurokawa- This guy HAS got to be thinking that 2006 was a complete waste of a season. Kurokawa hasn't even gotten a sniff in first team action and has no chance for sattelite play with the decision not to field a squad in the J Sattelite league. If Kurokawa misses the next 12 games, it would be the first time in his professional history that he did not perform in any matches. He's on a one year loan and most likely, not eager for a second, I question if he deserves it but..........

The verdict: CUT

Satoshi Tokizawa- 4th keeper is a project. Been with squad for 2 years and gets some action in practice games. At 21, he has a ton of good years left if he can show he can compete. Maybe not ready for any starts but might compete for 2nd or 3rd string next year.

The Verdict: KEEP

GK Coach Shinkichi Kikuchi- From what I've seen, he has done a good job with the keepers. Takagi looks worlds better than last season...................I also think a coach can only do so much with the materials provided

The verdict: KEEP

FINAL ANALYSIS- Verdy needs some sort of talent upgrade and competition for Takagi......Mizuhara is definetely not it. If the squad drops the game vs. Yokohama and maybe the game versus Ehime or Montedio, it might be time to see if the 3rd and 4th guys can cut it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The answer is probably yes

Ramos is now aiming at a 3rd place miracle

Nikkan Sports:

The big man gives Ramos a vote of confidence

Verdy Blog with link to Sanspo

Unbelievable that this clown school is continuing..................clean house the right way!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Has the bottom dropped out yet?

Ahhh, yes, another disappointing loss to a Tosu squad lacking the services of J2 scoring leader Tatsunori Arai makes you wonder, Where is this team going?

It was just 5 weeks ago that Verdy stole a result in Yamagata to put them a mere 6 points from the coveted second spot and automatic promotion, but then Consadole came to town and the team started a lackluster run which saw them go 2-1-4 with horrid blowout losses to Ehime and Shonan and a stunning blowout win against Kashiwa.

The team now finds itself in a 17 point hole to straight promotion and 14 to the playoff position. 6 of the 11 players weren't even on the roster on opening day. The 3 new foreign players have been erratic and the team seems rudderless. Ramos strongest points have betrayed him as of late, most recently by the substitution of Silva in the Vissel game which led to a comeback by an undermanned Vissel squad. Newspapers and Blogs are starting to question the coaching acumen and personnel decision making of Saint Rui.

A loss to Yokohama next week would put the squad 17 points short of the playoff spot with 12 games to play.

Dark days ahead with no relief in sight.