Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is the bloodletting about to begin?

I'll get to the cuts of other squads later but just moments ago Verdy released a list of 11 players who will not be getting renewed contracts for the upcoming adding Hayama, I can make a starting 11 of Verdy cuts

Lets begin!

GK Hiroki "The Cat" Mizuhara

DF Yukihiro Aoba Masayuki Yanagisawa Takumi Hayama

MF Yuhei Ono Shingo Nejime

Masatomo Kuba Tetsuhiro Kina
Jun Tamano

FW Koji Maatsura Ryosuke Kijima

And backup keeper GK Satoshi Tokizawa

Let's start out with the predictable- Along with the retirement of Hayama, the purge of players such as Tamano, Maatsura and Yuhei Ono were fairly predictable because A. They were on loans to clubs worse than Verdy and B. They weren't performing well......although Tamano has picked up his game as of late. Masayuki Yanagisawa never really saw the field after sustaining and early season injury and while he was in, he was average at best. Ryosuke Kijima is another player who never really saw any time with the first team.

The disappointed group starts with Masatomo Kuba. Of all the players cut, I believe he had the potential to be decent, but his lack of consistency killed him. Yukihiro Aoba was good in the back at times but never claimed a spot that was easily available. Shingo Nejime was the other young mid that had flashes of good play but getting beaten out by Kanazawa and Sugawara in the midfield sealed his fate. Finally I would have liked to see Satoshi Tokizawa get a game in the nets but alas it was not to be. Tokizawa, Kuba, and Nejime are all young guys who should get picked up by a team needing depth like Thespa or Ehime, or an enterprising JFL squad looking to advance to the big time.

Finally, my estatic drops are the innefective Mizuhara and the eye bleeding mangler known as Tetsuhiro Kina. You can see the "Highlights" of Mizuhara versus Sagan Tosu here

Tetsuhiro Kina is a big shocker for me considering he always managed to slither his way back onto Ruy's lineup card.....The guy was all hustle but his lack of instincts and talent deficiency made it hard on the eye. It also seemed that he had a knack to start scoring rallies......for the other team. That leaves a more manageable 31 left on the squad.........but if you think the signings and cuts are done........You're crazy!


Calling it a day!

Takumi Hayama calls it quits. The Yomiuri youth product rejoined the squad this year after 2 years in JFL. Hayama didn't see any game action this year and pretty much floated around the fringe of first team status his entire career. Today, Hayama retired.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turmoil in Talon Town

Numerous dailies are reporting that burly Brazilian coach Joel Santana will not be returning after failing to get Vegalta back to J1. Early in the year, Sendai was one of the most exciting, fast paced squads in all of Japan with a brilliant attack led by Borges, Lopez, and Thiago Neves, but an emotional 2-0 loss at Verdy was the beginning of a downward spiral for the club which saw them eventually drop behind Vissel Kobe and Sagan Tosu. The demanding and emotional fans of Vegalta Sendai are known for putting immense pressure on the front office to change course once success has been missed (just ask Satoshi Tsunami) and this could be another case of that happening. Tatsuya Mochizuki, santana's right hand man for 2006, has been handed the reigns for 2007.
The club also announced that 4 of their out of contract players will not be returning for next year. the most notable name on the list is former Verdy keeper Daijiro Takakuwa. The former best 11 and National Team fringe player was the starter in Sendai for the better part of three seasons before losing his job to dreadlocked former Verdy keeper Kiyomitsu Kobari. you might remember that Kobari had the most embarrassing moment for Vegalta this year when he blew up after Takakuwa had stopped a PK and a do-over but was overturned. Kobari, then the backup keeper went ballistic and picked up a red card. Excuse my French, but what a tool.
That was until the Verdy-Vegalta rematch when Takagi scored the goal from his own box on a freak hop which caught Takakuwa flat-footed. Takakuwa might be the perfect guy to push Takagi next year.
One interesting player that was dropped by Sendai was relatively young D-midfielder Kazuhiro Murakami. The 25 year old has been with the club for 6 years, becoming a regular in the last 3 before falling out of favor late in the season. He appeared in 26 games, notching 1 score.
So if you're keeping track at home.....Sagan-new coach, Consadole-new coach, Vegalta-new coach, Verdy-new pictorial on the same old coach

Monday, November 27, 2006

An eyewitness account of the lost weekend of Verdy

Friend of SG1969 and longtime Verdy supporter Nick checks in with a twofer review of the weekend

Well the end of season is nigh and we are going out with a flicker as opposed to a bang!! It was up to the beatiful city of Sapporo for a bit of footy and relaxation for myself last week.A great time was had by all,even the crap result and crap game couldn`t put a dampener on things. First thing has to be said is that Sapporo Dome has to be one THE best places to watch footy in the world,coming from a dome free country the technology behind the whole set up and the whole sliding in the pitch etc is jaw dropping. From the multitude of restaurants to choose from,the perfect pitch,the Deat Star feel to the place.Sapporo can draw a crowd too...18,000 noisy Hokkaidans creating their own version of Red Hell. On to the game..we were poor,managing only 3 or 4 half chances in the whole game, Hiramoto got clean through in the second half only to run out of pitch,had a couple of good runs but we were looking very shaky anf the Consadole midfield was where the game was won.They dominated our guys,overrunning them time and time again. As for Hulk...Im not sure about him,he did look dangerous and I think he is certainly not shy about shooting,but boy is he a moaner,anytime the ball wasn`t directly handed him on silver platter he was pointing, shouting arguing and generally being the kind of team mate you want to tell to go forth and.....You were right about the first goal,it was a stinging shot from Hulk which Takagi failed to hold (which he should have done as it was hit right at his chest) and the other striker nipped in for the rebound. We tried to press for the equaliser but were unable to break down the Consadole midfield.We never really looked like equalising and hlow and behold the second goal came on a fast breakaway. Crap result,dire game but hey I finally got to Sapporo Dome,site of Englands win over Argentina in 2002!! I still left happy.Which brings us to yesterday. I hate National Stadium.Historic or not its a general pain in the arse. Its further from my house than Chofu,there is no bloody roof,your miles from the pitch and they stop selling beer/food/anything at half time!! Anyway the game yesterday was an improvement on Thursdays encounter.It started off lively as Hiramoto hit the bar and Silva made the keepers fingers sting with a long range effort. The Sendai boys were making their contribution too with their Brazilian mid (the guy with the big hair whose name escapes me) doing the work of 3 men...forget Hulk and go for this guy!! Talk about work rate!! Good on the ball too he fashioned a number of chances for Sendai and wasn`t shy about shooting himself either.Anyhow after the exciting opening things calmed down a bit and the game settled into a good rythmn with chances/shots coming at a good rate. There was even a bit of atmos as every time Takagi touched the ball there was a crescendo of boos coming from the Sendai end. Half time came and went and we were getting closer and closer to scoring, anyhow in the 73rd minute the ball came in from the wing and Silva turned his man beautifully on the edge of the box,bought himself a yard of space and fired a low shot past the diving keeper. Good finish,a goal made and scored by Silva. Things continued in the same way chances falling away at either end. Then with about 10 minutes to go our defensive frailties reared their ugly head after a bit of a scramble in our box,(we must have had 4 or 5 chances to clear it),the ball broke to an unmarked Sendai guy who lashed the ball into the net from about 8 yards out. Overall a draw was probably a fair result,though obviously you want a win for the last home game. Takagi was visibly pissed off too as he got booked for throwing the ball to viscously down towards the centre circle after it had gone in. Strange,Ive seen people booked for throwing the ball away but ner for throwing to where its supposed to go. The ref was a bit of an arse today...Nevermind at least they have dropped The Cat from the bench.the young goalie is lining up these days.

I need a report on Thespa Saturday Nick........Get packing! Aww, just kidding....thank you as always!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Last one out, turn out the lights......Verdy vs Vegalta

In a game for pride, two teams that had high hopes for promotion and success faced off in a battle for self respect. The last time these teams met in historic Tokyo National, The game saw 2 ejections (including the backup keeper), a disputed PK whch was redone three times until Masahiro Ohashi put it away, and a small fan uprising from the visiting Vegalta supporters.

The replay in Sendai saw a miraculous length of the field goal scored off a goal kick by Yoshinori Takagi which made the difference in a 2-1 affair.

Today's game promised none of that.


GK Takagi
DF Kaimoto-Togawa-Tomisawa-Ishikawa
MF Sugawara Kanazawa
Marcus Hiroyama
FW Silva Hiramoto

The first half ended scoreless, although both of Verdy's d mids managed to get booked. Silva managed to break through in the 72 minute of play but moments later MF naoki Sugai managed to knot things up at 1. Final score 1-1

Nick said he would report on Consadole tomorrow, I'm hoping he talks about this game as well.

Kazu goes back to the big show

Yokohama FC did the improbable, beating Sagan Tosu on the road 1-0 and wrapping up the J2 crown. The game was won late on an Alemao goal. Ironically, the team that let him go.....last year's champion Kyoto Purple Sanga gave up a last minute goal to Gamba Osaka and get the hook.

Vissel Kobe came from a 1 goal and 2 man disadvantage to steal a tie from bottom barrel Shonan Bellmare and move a point ahead of Kashiwa Reysol by one point for the final automatic promotion spot. Reysol meanwhile lost a 2 goal advantage at home and fell 3-2 to the resurgent Consadole Sapporo. If Reysol falls into the third position, it would be the third year in a row that they faced off in the pro/rel playoff, beating Avispa Fukuoka in 2004 and dropping to Venforet Kofu and Bare in 2005.

The two teams locked in battle for the last relegation playoff spot, Cerezo and Avispa both lost 2-0 to Omiya and Nagoya (un)respectively.

Avispa takes on Venforet at home while Cerezo welcomes in Kawasaki Frontale. Kawasaki needs a victory in order to guarantee a shot at the 2007 ACL if Gamba falters............An Urawa win would mean that the second place squad in J1 gets a ticket to play teams from China, Korea, and other exotic locations.

More coaching turmoil?

Rumors from Consadole blogs are starting to form about the tenure of Masaaki Yanagishita. Although we have no reports confirming this, it seems the coach will leave after this season because of the teams failure to advance to J1.

Could this push Hulk out of the cold and into Verdy green? Is there a problem with cash in the northern kingdom?

Kusatsu equals Closure

Finally our long soccer nightmare is coming to a close. Thespa Kusatsu equals the end of year one in the Rui era. It also equals the end of year 1 of Soilent Green. I'd like to say a big thank you to everybody who reads the blog and comments on it. It's a pain in the pooper sometimes but I enjoy doing this and I hope it serves a purpose in some small way. Again thanks and stay for the ride next year.

Please play the young guys! Give Killoran a game!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Shoji Jo.......It's time to go

Thursday saw a stunning announcement as former National Team member Shoji Jo decided to call it a career and announce his retirement effective at the conclusion of this year. Jo began his career in 1994 as a member of (then) JEF United Ichihara. Jo is probably best known for replacing an innefective Kazu Miura in the penultimate qualifying game for the 1998 national team squad. The fallout caused Miura to make a scene that is disputed to this day, the eventual ouster of Takeshi Okada, and Shoji Jo scoring the winning goal. Fate would see the two team up for Yokohama FC late in his career.

Jo had his best year in 1998, scoring 25 goals for a Marinos squad. In 2000, He accepted an offer to play for Real Vallodolid. An injury to his knee and ineffectiveness saw him rejoin F Marinos. After a disasterous 2002 term with Vissel Kobe, Former JEF player and German international Pierre Littbarski encouraged Jo to join up with a struggling Yokoham FC side. 149 games and 44 goals later, Yokohama FC finds itself on the cusp of promotion to J1 and the claim as rightful heir of the Flugels legacy. Shoji Jo finds himself beginning a new life.

* A side note: This is the third member of the 1998 national team squad to head off into the sunset this year. Nobuyuki Kojima announced his retirement before the season started and Hidetoshi Nakata announced after the end of the 2006 World Cup.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ehhhhh.......not so much, Verdy vs Consadole Sapporo

Our man Nick was on the scene for Today's match against the 7th place Consadole Sapporo squad..............hopefully he will grace us with a report on the match.

Unfortunately, dear readers, you will have to bear with my pitiful little soliliquiy based on website reports and the Js Goal ticker.


GK Takagi
DF Kaimoto-Nagano-Togawa-Fujita

MF Tomisawa Kanazawa

Marcus Hirayama

FW Silva Hiramoto

By looking at the stats, it seems Verdy was overwhelmed under an attack led by the number #1 man on Ruy's wish list, Hulk................the man took an astounding 8 shots in todays game and judging by the looks of the scoreline, none were really that close. Meanwhile, Verdy had an attack led by Shin Kanazawa. Shin is my boy, I love the guy, but when Shin is putting up 5 shots, you know the team's offense is having some issues.

Scoring started in the 32nd minute when Shinya Aikawa put one in the net to open the scoring off what I believe was a rebound of a Hulk shot. Trying to shake things up, Rui brought in the always entertaining Tetsuhiro Kina who replaced Nagano. In the 72nd minute, Rui pulled main playmaker Marcus for the other half of the roadkill twins, Hideki Nagai. Finally in the 75th minute Martin Saito came on to try and salvage a result but it was all for naught as Verdy succumbed in the 89th minute off a death blow by GENKI NAKAYAMA. 2-0 final.

The last game of the home season comes for Verdy on the 26th at historic Tokyo National Stadium. I will be watching Cerezo versus Omiya in nearby Saitama but I will have a report on the game after I watch the replay at the godawful hour of 3am.

Come Home Exotic Terminator

Today's action saw the mighty squirrels of Omiya overcome a flagging Oita side to win 2-1 and guarantee J1 participation for the next year. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi scored the tying goal for Omiya. That means that Cerezo Osaka has two choices, win out and hope they can succeed against the third place squad from J2 or watch their fan base wither away like a certain team in green. Verdy's former captain, Takuya Yamada saw a drop in his performance this year as the leagues second worst defense has hovered around the gallows of J1 ineptitude.

One has to wonder if El Capitan would have helped to ensure promotion this year for Verdy had he stuck around. Verdy has gone through D Midfielders like Kappa Zushi goes through stale maguro and Yamada has barely seen the field in a starters role. While the speed is starting to go, the ability to lead from the back and organize are still there and one would think that a mid-table squad looking to regain former glory would be the perfect place for a guy looking to prolong his career just a bit longer. Because the alternatives for ET aren't gonna be pretty.

Takuya Yamada with the captains band? I could live with it. Takuya Yamada getting 4 minutes for a 13th place Sanfrecce Hiroshima next year? Not so much.

Avispa Fukuoka is still fighting, knotting up with 2nd place Gamba Osaka in a gutty little affair. How bad is the offense for Fukuoka? Kazunori Iio is the leading scorer with 4 goals.

Kyoto Purple Sanga lost to Jubilo 3-1 and now sit 5 points behind Cerezo with 2 games to play. Welcome back Purple People!

Yokohama FC knotted up with bottom barrel Tokushima Vortis 0-0 in a home match. Thespa Kusatsu bailed out team Kazu by knotting up Vissel Kobe 1-1. If Kobe falls to the playoff position they can look no further than 12th place Kusatsu for the blame. TK has managed to take 7 points off the Rakuten flagship. But the most disappointing result has to fall to Kashiwa who after winning 2 and tying one against 3 of the top 5 in the league, dropped a 1-0 decision to Montedio Yamagata. Kashiwa has two against Consadole and Shonan........Vissel faces off against Shonan and Sendai.....Yokohama goes up against Sagan and Ehime in a rematch of the season opener which caused the dismissal of their coach and a change in fortunes which have rocked J2. Verdy has to hope that Vissel and Kashiwa go considering the thumpings handed out to them this year.

That's all......Happy Japanese Labor Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Branch grows from the Verdy tree

Sagan Tosu announced the retirement of their headman, Ikuo Matsumoto effective February 1st, 2007. While Matsumoto did a fantastic job with the scrappy Tosu squad and it affects next year, that's not the reason I'm posting this.

The man taking his place might be familiar to Verdy fans......Yasuyuki Kishino. Kishino, who currently holds the number 2 slot in the Tosu pecking order, retired from Yomiuri Verdy in 1990 to take on a postion as a coach in the vaunted youth program. From 1992-2004, Kishino took on various coaching positions in the Verdy family, including Satellite team manager on numerous occasions. In 2005, he joined Sagan as Matsumoto's right hand.

The Lads get run out of Sahara

Well, Verdy youth had a bit of a mess in the Sahara cup. Matched up in a 4 team pool with Youth powerhouses Urawa, Yokohama F Marinos, and FC Tokyo, Verdy needed a result in their final match against Gasmen youth in order to grab one of the 3 spots.........3-0 to FCT.

Oh well....the lost season continues.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

For your perusal.....

I have failed to mention these sites in the past and finally ot around to adding them to the link list but they deserve a bit of an introduction.......

Orange Blue- Nice site about Albirex Niigata, former home of good Verdy defender Koijiro Kaimoto and bad defender Shigenori Hagimura. Good site-Good guy!

Shrimp with Yokohama FC- If you want factoids about King Kazu and the rest of pale blue, this is your place. No in-depth coverage or opinions, which i'd like to see more of but it's a good site!

Consadole Ole!- Just found this one....about Sapporo and Spain? Interesting site......

Two Teams/One Ball- A site about Vegalta Sendai and Kawasaki Frontale. Counting Grampalogue, GGOA, and Masa-Net, that makes 9 teams are covered by English language sites. 22 more to go!!!!!!!!

Another site of interest is out of Australia

This site is run by Fox soccer journalist Jesse Fink. One of his readers had this to say about him Who the hell to you think you are Jesse Fink, your a nobody, who has done nothing
High praise indeed!!!!! Spelling nonwithstanding. I bring up Mr.Fink because he is writing a book about Australians overseas and includes a section on goalkeeper Dennis Boland, who played for Yomiuri Nippon FC in in the mid 70's...............the precursor to Today's Tokyo Verdy 1969. He also was gracious enough to send me some pictures of the old badge and team photos from the 70's which I will share with you once I get permission.

Anyhow, it's good to see that Australia has some quality media writing about their league. America unfortunately has to endure the error strewn bile of Fox America's Jamie Trecker..........First Bill O'Reilly and then Jamie Trecker.......Why do you hate us Rupert Murdoch?

Get to Writing Jesse.........I'm ready for a new book!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Deja Vu? Verdy vs Tosu

Fell asleep before I could catch the 3:40 am replay but it sounds like another epic battle went down. I was watching Junior High School kids sing the same song 7 times......EXACTLY HOW I LIKE TO SPEND MY SATURDAYS!!!!!

Anyhow, here's the lineups


GK Takagi
DF Kaimoto-Ichiyanagi-Nagano-Fujita
MF Tomisawa
Sugawara Hiroyama
FW Hiramoto Silva

Bench: Mizuhara-Kina (38 min)-Kanazawa-(45 min)-Nagai (80 min) Saito

We'll keep it brief.........Silva started off the scoring in the second minute to give Verdy a 1-0 lead.......I guess the Tosu squad smelled weakness in the middle and put two up in a 6 minute span........Sugawara comes out and MY FAAAAAAAAAVORITE verdy player Kina comes in, one minute later Tomisawa evens up the score. 2-2 at the half.

Kanazawa comes in for the ineffective Ichiyanagi, who I think is starting to buy his own hype a touch. 80th minute sees the exit of Marcus and the entrance of Mr. Nagai. 5 minutes later, the penultimate goal occurs when Hiramoto puts one in the net in the 85th minute.....(it looks like he split two defenders and put it past the Sagan keeper. )

3-2 Verdy in another tight game.

Quick Hits

Revoverdy has a funny story about how Hiramoto went to training thinking he wasn't going to play yesterday and found out he was a starter! Good thing he showed up........unlike the middle of the season.

The table for the last twelve games looks like this so far

1. Yokohama FC 6 wins 1 tie 2 losses 19 pts
Tokyo Verdy
Sagan Tosu

4. Kashiwa Reysol 5 wins 2 ties 2 losses 17 pts
5. Ehime FC 5 wins 2 ties 3 losses 17 pts

6. Vissel Kobe 5 wins 1 tie 3 losses 16 pts

7. Consadole Sapporo 4 wins 3 ties 2 losses 15 pts

8. Vegalta Sendai 2 wins 4 ties 3 losses 10 pts

9. Tokushima Vortis 2 wins 3 ties 5 losses 9 pts

10. Thespa Kusatsu 2 wins 2 ties 5 losses 8 pts

11. Montedio Yamagata 1 wins 4 ties 4 losses 7 pts
12. Mito Hollyhock 2 wins 1 tie 5 losses 7 pts

13. Shonan Bellmare 1 win 2 ties 6 losses 5 pts

Revoverdy also has a tip about two Brazilians training with the squad, a defender named Bruno and a forward named Leandro

Anyhow a Thursday encounter against lone J2 emperor's cup representative and all around good guys Consadole Sapporo. Will Hulkamania run wild?

Until then.......see ya!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Splashing around like baby ducks!!!!! Verdy vs Yokohama FC

Well, I went out to Mitsuzawa in the pouring rain.........And it was worth every wet minute! Took a 2 hour trip from Saitama to Yokohama and got to the stadium a bit late so I missed out on the gift bags. But I did however discover flour tortilla wrapped hotdogs.....the best stadium food in Japan!!!!!! You put one of those things in front of a fat guy, it will disappear faster than Rickhiki from the first team.

Anyhow, let's get to the game!!!!!!

Verdy Lineup

GK Takagi
DF Kaimoto-Togawa-Nagano-Fujita
MF Sugawara Tomisawa
Marcus Hirayama
FW Kaimoto Silva

I'm not going to get into a big play by play because it was wet and I couldn't make notes. I'll just tell you that Marcus scored on a stellar free kick......low and to the far post that went screaming over the slick turf and fell right in. Near the end of the half, Tomoya Uchida was the fortunate benificiary of a loose ball after a scrum in front of the box, left alone, he put in an easy shot past Takagi. the second half saw not one, but two possible takedowns in the box, one on Silva (i believe...could be wrong ) and a worse shot on Hiramoto. Both could have been easily called PK's for Verdy but the ref said play on. I'm glad they did, and here's why.......Hiramoto got the ball back on the left, took it past one Yokohama DF, took a shot, stayed on his feet, drove past the second defender......went in on a an isolation on Sugeno and scored. All talent and determination. It's something that everyone involved with Verdy knows Hiramoto has in him but seldom uses. In my opinion, Hiramoto has National Team talent and a JFL head and it kills me to watch him play.

Fujita played a patchy game on the branch, Burning people but losing the ball on the endlines. He did manage to draw a yellow on a horrible dive which made me laugh out loud. Alemon was less proficient at his diving skills. The last dangerous attempt happened on a Silva breakaway where he lost the ball, got it back and flipped it up over an out of position keeper across the goal line only to be whistled for a high kick that shouldn't have been called. The officials were really poor today.

Quick Hits
Nagano looks a lot like Hagimura.....physically not skillfully.....he played a really good game. Alemon didn't really get a shot off. Game was really entertaining......very physical and intense which surprised me considering Verdy had nothing to play for. No subs today which was a good call by Ramos.....the team played well. Back 4 was possibly the best I've seen performance wise all year. I really like Hirayama slipping back to his natural position.......not many shots but the breakaway was always there and the team countered well. Disciplined is the word that comes to mind. I still want to see the little used guys get a run but I'm happy to see the team play well. NO CORNER KICKS *O* unbelievable! I didn't even notice......usually that means the team is not functioning offensively but that wasn't the case today.


I'm calling it a three team race for both promotion and relegation......while Omiya and Sanfrecce are still a few points away from being truly safe and Sagan still is mathematically able to qualify, it would take an outlandish rush/collapse for either scenario to happen.

Anyhow Cerezo and Avispa both dropped results (Jubilo 3-2 Cerezo) (Sanfrecce 2-0 Avispa) while Last years J2 Champ, Kyoto Purple Sanga tied with cinderella squad Venforet Kofu 1-1

Avispa leads the pack on a 1 goal advantage on differential over Cerezo. Kyoto trails by 3 points.

Meanwhile, the loss to Verdy kept Yokohama at 83 points and the second automatic promotion spot. In the game of the day, Kashiwa went to Kobe and won 4-3 in a back and forth affair that saw Kashiwa take the lead 3 times only to see Vissel match them at every turn. Finally diego put one away in the 43rd minute to steal the win on the road and put them 2 points away from the top. Three teams seperated by a point each.

I'm gonna call it Cerezo versus Vissel in the playoff......they've had two chances to really salt away the top spot and failed to do so. I think Kashiwa will end up with the top spot.

The Emperor Has No Clothes?

The Verdy related blogs have been going crazy about the possibility of Nike ending it's uniform sponsorship with Verdy. My japanese is too poor to get an accurate translation but I guess something is going on with Urawa that has caused speculation that Verdy will lose them as supplier............So next year will Verdy be in the Kaepa mud flappa unis of Consadole? Umbro? Mizuno? Adidas? Le Coq Sportif (I don't think I could handle a chicken on the uniforms)? Puma? Maybe another US company like Champion? Reebok?

Next up for Verdy is a game against Tosu in the last game of the year at Ajinomoto. I have to watch Junior High kids sing. I won't be there.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Finally, a new signing

Seiji Sonoda has signed......finally.

El Golazo said it would happen and we believed we posted it in July

The Luther HS product has appeared for both the U-18 squad and the U-15 squad for Japan National Team. Small fella, 166 cm and 6o kg. Pretty small for a Defender so I imagine he's a branch player.

So by my count, that is 6 new prospects

Sonoda DF Luther HS*
Shibasaki MF Kokushikan University*
Shinmura MF Riseisha HS
Inoue FW Hosei University*
El Samni FW Verdy Youth
Fukuda DF Meiji University

(*Denotes National youth team experience)

Practice match versus Meiji University

Thursday saw Verdy go up against the young lads of Meiji in a 3 period 90 minute practice match. Little strange......anyhow they won 1-0 on a score by Hiroyama. The full squad participated with a couple of student trialists (Bruno, Leo, and a youngster from Korea). (Verdy G 196.9 blog......nice site!)

Finally, I picked up my ticket for the Verdy match at Yokohama FC.....probably my last Verdy match of the season in person. Possibly the most pathetic match I ever saw was in Yokohama.....what a snooze 0-0 borefest. Let's hope for something better!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Togawa a target for J1

Many thanks to Kazu 1968 for spotting this one

About halfway down an article in sponichi is a little blurb saying that Kashima is angling to pick up center back and life long Verdy player Kenta Togawa

Link here:

This would hurt the backline pretty badly, arguably Togawa has been the most consistent defender this year. Really except for his stinker in Kashiwa and a few other dog performances he's been pretty strong.

I don't know if this will be a situation where Ishikawa is given to the club permanently in exchange or if some sort of loan deal is worked out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What if: Round 4 Emperors Cup Verdy vs Shimizu

Tochigi FC is taking on the S Pulse of Shizuoka in a tight 0-0 match while Verdy is sitting around listening to Ramos tell of how in his day Yomiuri FC Nippon would have already beaten the competition and been grooving with the Samba band in the crowd.

Anyhow I thought it would be fun to speculate on what a 4th round match between Shimizu and Verdy would have looked like just by using the power of my mind.

Verdy Lineup

GK Tokizawa
DF Kaimoto Aoba Nakano Ichiyanagi
MF Kanazawa
Ono Kuba
FW Hiroyama Silva

Bench: Takagi, Fujita, Ohashi, Hiramoto, Ishikawa, Saito, Togawa

Shimizu Lineup

GK Nishibe
DF Ichikawa, Iwashita, Takagi, Yamanishi
MF Fujimoto, Ito,Takaki, Edamura
FW Marquinhos, Yajima

Bench: Yamamoto, Hiraoka, Zaitsu, Okazaki, Kuboyama, Hiramatsu, Morioka

Intriguing matchup between the surprise teams of the past two years. Verdy made an improbable run to claim the 2004 crown while Shimizu fell just short in making an improbable run through the 2005 E Cup field.

The game started off with a very strong Shimizu squad pushing forward quickly. Marquinhos put a shot off the bar that shook debutante Tokizawa into action. Midfielder Ito took a couple of shots that were stuffed by the young hero to be.

30 minutes in, Hiroyama sent a beautiful cross into a streaking Silva who remarkably attempts a bicycle kick in which he has no business attempting. It looks akward at first but the young Brazilian goal machine hits it perfectly into the top corner for a remarkable 1-0 lead.

This would be short lived however, as Marquinhos would make a quick strike against a hungover Verdy still reveling in the magnificence of the Silva strike. 1-1

Near the half, Verdy seemed content to go in with a tie but that would be a mistake as the former National teamer would come up with not one but two quick strikes in the span of one minute. 3-1 and things look pretty dire for the second division squad. Obviously a lack of cohesion in the back 4 led to alot of communication issues and breakdowns.

The second half saw the insertions of Togawa for Aoba and a switch to a 4-3-3 with the removal of Kuba for Saito. the move would see immediate dividends as Saito would get two back in a 5 minute span to tie things up. After a couple of tense minutes and moments of brilliance from the young Tokizawa, the squads would settle on extra time. The squads both came out looking to play for extra time as no shots were taken in a cautious 27 minutes. PK specialist Ohashi would be the last sub for Verdy as he came on for a brave Kanazawa. Unfortunately this move would backfire in a big way as Ohashi loses a pass andcauses Ono to foul a streaking Zaitsu on a grizzly foul that injures the striker and gives Ono a direct red. A PK is awarded and Brazilian star Marquinhos steps up to take it.

Tokizawa is up to the task! Brilliant stop and the game goes to PK's

Verdy is up first with the aforementioned Ohashi..............Stopped! Nishibe matches his young counterpart with a brilliant punch on a ball he had no business stopping.

Ito shoots for Shimizu and fakes the young keeper out of the box.......1-0 Shimizu

Next up is Verdy's other hero, the post!
Marquinhos gets a chance to redeem himself and does with an easy shot into the opposite direction of a flailing Tokizawa 2-0

Silva has possibly the last chance and puts it over the bar! Unbelievable!

Defender Takagi steps up for Shimizu and calmly puts in the third shot for Shimizu 3-0 and last year's runner up moves on.

A disappointing ending to a thrilling match..........that never happened!

The real game was stranger than my fiction.......after nearly 60 minutes of scoreless football, Yajima, Marquinhos, and Fujimoto would all notch braces and Tochigi would put 4 back as 10 goals are notched in a 30 minute span.

So far every first team squad has managed to pass through to the round of 16.

The best match this weekend had to be the Kashiwa/Jubilo affair in Yamaha.........Kashiwa managed to push Jubilo to 10 rounds of penalty kicks before finally falling 9-8 in PK's ......The Chiba squad was missing their stellar keeper Yuta Minami and their trio of Brazilian stars.