Sunday, December 30, 2007

And the newest Brazilian is???????



This is San Paulo's own Leandro Lessa Azevedo, a 27 year old striker who is playing for San Paulo. Leandro is 170cm tall and can hold the ball in traffic......if you believe Sports Hochi.

The Hochi article is below
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/soccer/jleague/news/20071231-OHT1T00080.htm

東京Vがブラジルの名門・サンパウロFCのFWレアンドロ(27)を獲得することが30日、明らかになった。3年ぶりにJ1復帰を果たした東京Vは、新助っ人に移籍金、年俸を合わせ4億円(推定)を投じる大補強を敢行。待望の突破力に優れたブラジル人FWの加入で、J1定着、名門復活を目指す。
 3年ぶりのJ1を戦う東京Vに加わるのは、サンパウロの「9番」だ。
 2006年にフルミネンセから加入したレアンドロは170センチと小柄ながら、抜群のスピードと中盤もこなすテクニック、ドリブルを生かしたプレーを得意とするFWで、今季は国内リーグ戦35試合に出場。守備でも豊富な運動量を生かして献身的にピッチを動き回る姿から、国内では「Guerreiro(ゲレイロ=ポルトガル語で戦士、勇士の意味)」の愛称も持ち、ブラジル代表候補にも挙げられてきた。
 今季、J2最多得点記録タイとなる37ゴールを挙げ、J1昇格の立役者となったFWフッキ(21)の川崎復帰が確定的となっており、ストライカーの獲得が東京V最大の補強ポイントに挙がっていた。残留に成功したMFディエゴ(23)との交渉の一方、水面下で外国人選手数人をリストアップしていたが、関係者によれば、レアンドロとほぼ合意に達しているという。
 フロント側は苦しい台所事情を強いられる中、名門復活を期して“先行投資”。レアンドロに移籍金と年俸を合わせ推定4億円を投じる大補強を敢行した。元日本代表GK土肥洋一(34)、同MF福西崇史(31)=いずれもF東京=らの加入も正式決定し、緑の王国が華々しくJ1の舞台に帰ってくる。
 ◆レアンドロ・レッサ・アセヴェド(Leandro Lessa Azevedo)1980年8月13日、ブラジル・リベーランプレト生まれ。27歳。99年にボタフォゴに入団。コリンチャンス、ロコモティフ・モスクワ(ロシア)、ゴイアス、フルミネンセを経て06年にサンパウロに移籍。背番号9をつけ06、07年のブラジル全国選手権連覇に貢献した。170センチ、66キロ。
 ◆横浜M・那須も 横浜Mのアテネ五輪代表DF那須大亮(26)が来季、東京Vに完全移籍することが30日までに正式決定した。年俸4500万円(推定)の複数年契約で合意しており、近日中に発表される。那須は本職のセンターバックで勝負することを希望し、移籍を検討。DFラインの柱として補強リストの筆頭に挙げた東京Vと代理人を通じて交渉を行ってきた。

Leandro bio here

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2 come in from the list


The VERDY Website is reporting that Takashi Fukunishi has been signed after one less than stellar year at crosstown rival FC Tokyo. Fukunishi managed to be the second leading scorer on FCT with 6 goals, but last scored in September against Yokohama FC. Fukunishi is a two time member of Japan's World Cup and a personal favorite of Zico.
Another former National teamer and a surprise signing is longtime FC Tokyo starter Yoichi Doi. Doi got bumped halfway through this season for Hirshi Shiota. Now it remains to be seen if Shinya Yoshihara (long term loan from Frontale) or Takuya Takagi will be the odd man out in the keeper rotation.

So as it stands now, the lineup might look like this


HIRAMOTO

Diego

Fukunishi Hiroyama

Sugawara ONO


Kaimoto NASU Tsuchiya Hattori

Doi

Not a great lineup so far!

Omiya Ardija called back Shin Kanazawa after a two year loan to Verdy. Kanazawa fell in and out of favor with Ramos during his two year stint. Another one of my favorite Verdy player has left the team.

The list is now down to 8


2007 J League Newcomer of the year Takanori Sugeno officially joined bitter rival Kashiwa Reysol from recently departed Yokohama FC. Presumably, Sugeno will fill in to a role much like Kawasaki Frontale man Eiji Kawashima, who went from starter to apprentice under Seigo Narazaki.
YANAGISAWA NOT HAPPY?
It seems mercurial Kashima striker is souring on the negotiating techniques of messrs. Hashiratani and Ramos. My babelfish is a little confusing but I think somebody pushed to hard for a signature and Ramos had to smooth it over with Yanagisawa. Not helping matters is that rival Kyoto's main point man in recruitment of the former National teamer is none other than longtime Kashima defender and current Kyoto coach Yutaka Akita
Nasu to get the 5 shirt
Yokohama F Marinos DF Daisuke Nasu will don the 5 shirt next year if he so chooses to join Verdy next campaign, according to Sports Hochi. So 1 out of 9 ain't bad I suppose
PURPLE PEOPLE PUSH FOR PRESTIGIOUS PRIZE
Impressed, huh! Anyhow, the dismally underacheiving Sanfrecce Hiroshima squad have turned the Emperor's Cup competition on its ear with a 3-1 victory over Nabisco Cup winners Gamba Osaka. Sanfrecce moves onto the final against J league champs Kashima Antlers for a chance to pull off the biggest upset since Thespa Kusatsu managed to beat Yokohama F Marinos with only 9 men.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fatty Fatty 2 by 5



While there is nothing wrong with wanting to be the next Diego Maradona, someone needs to tell Kazuki Hiramoto that he should go with the 1986 model and not the more recent mode. Sponichi Annex is reporting that Hiramoto met with Coach Hashiratani today and came in at a remarkable 20% body fat. Hiramoto wasted away on the Yokohama FC bench after transfering in May. Not a good way to make a good impression and another sign that Hiramoto doesn't get it.
Yokohama FC Watch
Fulie nation saw all three of their late season foreign imports depart the squad. Korean MF Oh Beom Sook, MF Marcos Parana, and MF Catatau all leave after varying degrees of success. Rumors have it that Sagan Tosu refuse Anderson and former FC middle man Augusto will be two of the targets for 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

THE NINE

Weekly Soccer Magazine has a list of the 9 players Verdy is looking at in terms of upgrading the squad next season.

GK Yoichi Doi
Former team FC TOKYO
Age 34
2006 World Cup member Doi has seen his stock fall drastically after being usurped in the other Tokyo teams lineup by Hitoshi Shiota. Would I sign him.......2 years ago, yes. Today, not so much.
Other teams in pursuit Kyoto Sanga FC

GK Takanori Sugeno
Team Yokohama FC
Age 23
The former Verdy youth player and 2007 J1 Newcomer of the Year would be a definite upgrade to half the squads in J1. Young and capable of taking a team to a championship, his capable hands kept the Fulie from being even more embarassing. Would I sign him.......YES
Other teams in pursuit Kashiwa Reysol

DF Daisuke Nasu
Team Yokohama F Marinos
Age 26
Nasu has seen his time cut back in the last two years after being a regular. The Athens Olympian would pair with Yukio Tsuchiya in the middle. Not the largest guy for a defender, Nasu would benifit from learning from the equally undersized Tsuchiya. There lies the problem.
Would I sign him........yes, for the right price.

DF Yasuhiro Hato
Team Omiya Ardija
Age 31
Hato has been less than stellar in the back for Omiya since his signing from the (then) relegated Reysol squad. Not my favorite player by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe he'd be better teaming up with old friend Tsuchiya. Would I sign him......considering his lack of good service and mental mistakes, I'd say no. I think Kaimoto needs to be upgraded and I'm not sure he is.

MF Takashi Fukunishi
Team FC Tokyo
Age 31
The mainstay of SAMURAI BLUE since the 2002 World Cup, Fukunishi was jettisoned from the gasmen after one lackluster season. A decent passer and scoring threat, Fukunishi is not the fleetest of foot. Pairing him with Hiroyama would be suicide. Would I sign him......I think his best days are behind him and the qualities he has, experience, is in abundance on this squad already.
Other teams in pusuit Consadole Sapporo

MF Magnum
Team Kawasaki Frontale
Age 25
Magnum has been the off again/on again schemer in the middle for Kawasaki Frontale the past year and a half. Injuries and erratic play have deemed the Brazilian expendable. Would I sign him......when he is on, he is a very good J1 level player. Unfortunately, that's rare. With Diego in the fold, one of the other two has to be a dependable player and he's not....as the third Brazilian, he'd be allright. Maybe.
Other teams in pursuit Nagoya Grampus 8

FW Atsushi Yanagisawa
Team Kashima Antlers
Age 29
Another one of the old World Cup guard, Yanagisawa is shopping for a new squad after falling down the 2007 Champions depth chart. Maybe confidence is the key for the mercurial striker.
Would I sign him........for the right price, he has scored big goals, including the one against Honda FC to put them in the Emperors Cup semifinal.
Other teams in pursuit Kyoto Sanga FC

FW Popo
The K League scoring machine is rumored to be headed for Japan. Don't know enough about him to have an opinion.
Other teams in pursuit Kashiwa Reysol

FW Shota Matsuhashi
Team Oita Trinita
Age 25
The speedy wing would fit right in to the system Verdy is trying to run, although he is coming off a disappointing season. Matsuhashi would be my choice of the field players on this list, so yes I'd sign him.
Other teams in pursuit Albirex Niigata Vissel Kobe

Yokohama FC watch
DF Kosuke Yatsuda joined the team from FC Tokyo. Yatsuda managed one game for FCT, being the victim in the fabulous Leandro effort. Yusuke Sudo joins from Nagoya to help shore up the midfield. Finally Yusuke Nakata comes in from Vegalta Sendai to help shore up the defense.

Finally, in a curious move, Yusuke Sato heads to Tochigi SC in the JFL. Why, I have no idea, I think the guy could fight for a starting spot on half of the J2 squads next campaign, but maybe he has a big check coming. Good luck and Vaya Con Dios!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

One more out......but who's coming in?

Verdy.......NOT VERDY 1969!......confirmed the 1 year loan of part time U-23 player Yugo Ichiyanagi to perennial 4th place finisher Vegalta Sendai. Ichiyanagi got into 8 games for Verdy this year, failing to crack the lineup over Kenta Togawa, Seichiro Tomisawa, and Shigenori Hagimura. One of the failings of an otherwise sucessful 2007 was the failure to truly develop young talent like Ichiyanagi. Good luck to Yugo, here's hoping you pick up your game.

Speaking of Last Year's model, NIKKAN SPORTS is reporting that Verdy are now trying to outbid Kyoto for the rights to FW Atsushi Yanagisawa. Yanagisawa saw limited time this season, netting 5 goals. He did however net the game winner in extra time to avoid an embarrassing loss to Honda FC (ERRRRRRR, I mean a hard fought battle against a quality squad, ERRRRRRRRR).

来季J1に昇格する東京Vが鹿島FW柳沢敦(30)獲得に乗り出すことが21日、関係者の話で分かった。今季37得点でJ2得点王のFWフッキが川崎Fに復帰したことから、新たなFW探しが急務。関係者は、出場機会の減少などから移籍を志願している柳沢について「リストに入っているのは間違いない。おそらく交渉することになると思う」と話した。今後、本格交渉に入る見込みだ。
 柱谷監督も「柳沢が欲しい。とにかく点を取れるやつが欲しい。経験もあるし、老け込むにはまだまだ早い」と明言。この日、就任が決まっている高木コーチとも、柳沢について話し合ったという。柳沢は現在30歳で移籍金は発生せず、すでに京都が獲得オファーを出している。


Another Kashiwa player on the radar is 22 year old MF Chikashi Masuda. Masuda, who fell out of favor right about the time Kashima started their run to the championship, scored 3 goals in 23 games. Masuda can play anywhere in the midfield but was stuck at right back for most of his tenure. The U-22 member is also being pursued by Oita and Vegalta. Sanspo has the story here

http://www.sanspo.com/soccer/top/st200712/st2007122305.html

Yokohama FC WATCH

More little blue are jumping ship as Korean MF Chong Yong De makes his move to Consadole permanent. Mini midfielder Tomoya Uchida has been rumored by numerous outlets to be venturing inland to Saitama to don the orange of Omiya. G!G!O!A! has a more detailed story here http://furtho.blog4.fc2.com/blog-entry-1068.html#comment

Finally, I'd like to say thank you agin to all of you that have been reading this blog.......Thursday marked the end of year 2 of Soilent Green and I have appreciated all the feedback, even if I don't respond. The bet part of the blog has been the comments from people as close as Saitama, to varied places such as Ibaraki, Tokyo, Spain, England, Hawaii, Chile, Norway, and numerous other spots that have slipped my mind (Yamanashi?).

As a blast from the past, I republish the first post ever from frequent contributor and superfan Nick........

Can`t believe how many players have left either!!As our two best players; Washington and Soma were always going to leave but Im surprised anybody bothered picking up the most hapless defenders ever to grace the field!!i thought we`d still have the treat of seeing them bumble along in J2. Also Ramos reaks of "numpty" don`t reckon he`ll be around too long....my wish is to see Takagi shown the exit on account of his appalling haircuts for the last few seasons. Any team that has a dandelion in a pink top in nets deserves relegation!! We can`t complain really.. Its gonna be a long season me thinks. If Ramos is on about raiding the retirement home, how about Big Pat Mboma, or Edmundo.I hear Bobby Charlton is free on most Saturday afternoons.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone out there! Here's hoping your team finishes a distant second to the little orange monsters in Saitama!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Too much to say!

We will start with the important news first...........Al Bangura. It looks like he is going to get a reprieve, which is gret news. Fans all across England have spoken out on the stupidity of deporting a kid whose life is threatened. Well, the home office has decided to let him apply for a work permit. It's not done, but it's looking alot better! Here's hoping for a Merry Christmas for Al.

Now Verdy newsapalooza......

Not a surprise but Hulk is going back to Kawasaki to team with Juninho. Not sure if this is a good thing for Kawasaki, considering that both players need the ball to be effective. It is bad for Verdy, who I don't think will try to fill the void with Kazuki Hiramoto.

Diego signed an extension for next year. If he comes in shape, he should be physical enough to be decent. If he comes in like last year, it's gonna be dreadful.

Yusuke Sato gets cut. After a bright start, Sato seemed to trail off, getting intermittent shots at playing time. Sato probably wasn't cut out for J1, considering he's been J2 most of his career. I think he'll find another gig somewhere.....I liked him as a player but he wasn't consistent.

Takuya Takagi joins new man Hashiratanis coaching staff. I think it's a good signing because he had some time as a top guy, he's still relatively young, and he can do the job if Hashiratani stumbles.

Verdy also changed their name officially to Tokyo Verdy......dropping the most endearing part of their name, 1969. Don't like it but whatever.....Grampus dropped the 8.

3 new prospects came in as well.......U17 National teamer and Verdy Youth star Hiroki Kawano joins the squad after his final 8 appearence in the Sahara cup. DF Sho Asuke and GK Tomuyuki Suzuki come in from Kokushikan University. Wait till the end of the year and the signings should stepped up big time.

Yokohama FC Watch

Nikkan sports is reporting that former Jubilo, Marinos, and Yokohama FC MF Daisuke Oku will retire and pursue coaching opportunities.

Former Verdy youth MF Yusuke Sudo joins Yokohama FC from Nagoya Grampus 8
Yusuke Nakata joins as well from Vegalta Sendai.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

BIG NEWS

I'll write more tomorrow but as expected, Diego signs an extension and Hulk leaves for Frontale. Also, Yusuke Sato gets the hook and Takuya Takagi is hired on as a coach.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Keeper for Verdy?

Sponichi Annex is reporting that Takenori Sugeno is possibly headed out of Yokohama and back to the club of his "youth" in Tokyo. If it's true, one would imagine that either Shinya Yoshihara (on a long term loan from Kawasaki) or Yoshinari Takagi would probably head the other way and man the pipes for the FC. Sugeno was one of the few bright spots for an absolutely dismal Yokohama squad and now is in the running for J League rookie of the year.

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/soccer/news/2007/12/16/10.html

Yeah, did you really think that Verdy was gonna get outrumored by Kyoto and Consadole?

Updates ahoy!


Our friend Furtho at G!G! O!A! forwarded me another Bangura article today from the Guardian. If they deport him because he's a Muslim, I'm really gonna be pissed off.
I don't care who signs him (I'm talkin to you Urawa.........you got a Eurofetish, he's 19 and you guys always seem to magically turn young players into Japanese Citizens......besides he couldn't be any worse than Nene.) Just sign him. Don't make him go back.
Sanfrecce continues a different journey
In most years, a team just getting relegated but rallying beat a solid J1 squad would be the story of the Emperor's Cup. Unfortunately for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, this is not that year. Maybe this is an advantage for them as the team rallied back from the heartbreak of being relegated to notch a win against Jubilo Iwata. Koji Morisaki (one half of the Sanfrecce Wonder Twins) managed to pick up a brace to push the Hiroshima squad over the hump. For the second straight game, former Verdy psychopath Kazuyuki Toda did not appear, and for the second straight game, Sanfrecce posted a clean sheet.......coincidence? How's this? In 2005, Toda was the anchor for a 2005 Verdy squad that allowed a league high 73 goals........this year Sanfrecce led the league in goals allowed. Maybe it was just being too close to Takuya Yamada.
The last game of the Washington era
Tonight we bid adieu to grumpy striker Washington who plays his last game for the UUUURAAAAWAAAAAAH reds. Can't say I'll miss him, and talking with alot of Reds fans, can't say they'll miss him either. The histrionics and lazy play were a bit too much to stomach in spite of the prolific scoring. Anyhow great scorer, bad sport.....good luck in Brazil.
One Brazilian who won't be going back to South America is Diego. Sports Hochi report that the big man will return to clog up the middle for Verdy next campaign.
Go Baby Birds! Go little Squirrels!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Legend says it's over


Motohiro Yamaguchi called it quits yesterday after a 17 year career ended with the disastrous 2007 Yokohama FC Campaign. Yamaguchi was a member of the 1998 Japan National Team that ventured to France, but his real claim to fame was his 6 years as the anchor for the Yokohama Flugels. Weekly Soccer Magazine named him to 4 All-Time club squads (Flugels, YFC, Nagoya, and Niigata). Good luck to a true contributor to Japanese football.


Verdy plays a match against Frontale......


And wins. 2-1 on goals from Martin Saito and a student. Why?....don't know.


Anyhow, a far more important match takes place tomorrow when Verdy Youth go after the Football Factory known as Kashiwa. Here's wishing good luck to the little lads in Green for their possible march to the title.
Sir Elton lends his hearty voice to the Bangura situation.
Yahoo.co.uk and Fox Sports have both been doing a good job of tracking the situation of 19 year old refugee and Watford MF Al Bangura. Last week, England's Home Office, in a stunning display of incompetence, told Bangura that he was exaggerating the threat to his life and ordered his deportation. As reported earlier, Bangura came to England when he was 15 after escaping Sierra Leone Death Squads (who wanted him to take the place of his deceased father) and a sketchy French pimp, who wanted him to become a gay prostitute. Watford MP Claire Ward, the players association, and Honorary Watford Chairman Sir Elton John have all called on the Home Office to reverse their decision and let Watford stay. Bangura recently became a new father as well. Merry Christmas.
If England doesn't want him, surely somebody here can use a Premiership quality 19 year old who could fill a MF role. At the very least it would probably save his life. Here's hoping england pulls their head out of their Ass.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Baby Birds move on!

Verdy youth took on the young men of Estrella Himeji FC at Verdy ground and emerged victorious 2-1 after young defender Takahashi scored in the 64th minute. Verdy moves on to face the illustrious Kashiwa youth, who won 2-1.

Other teams advancing include Gamba Osaka, who are on their way to getting in the finals in Osaka. they will take on Sanfrecce, who advanced on the road against Nagoya. Oita meets up with Verdy rivals FC Tokyo, while the final matchup will see Omiya face a monster in the making in Cerezo, who knocked FC Miyagi Barcelona around 7-2.

Personally, I think the youth leagues are a good indicator of what teams will be strong in the future. Teams like Gamba, Yokohama, and Urawa have been built on the backs of their strong youth programs. Sanfrecce has consistently brought up good young talent from their youth team, and Kashiwa, FC Tokyo, and Verdy have alumni scattered around the J league. I'm very happy to see Omiya do well in these competitions, getting to the quarterfinals two years in a row.

Satellites end with a loss

If you thought the season was over.........well you are right now, but yesterday saw the last of semi-official games for the first team as a squad made up of new man Masaaki Iida and soon to be unemployed members Shinya Muro, Taisei Fujita, and Martin Saito ventured down to Jubilo Iwata and got beat 3-1. Satellite superstar Kaz Iio notched the only goal for Verdy, managing to be the last goal scorer in J2 and the satellites for team green. SPOOOKY!

The Curious tale of Sato Hisato

Our good friend Gora at the Kyoto blog put up a link to highlights of the relegation battle at Sanfrecce. Now, the one player that a few of us Omiya fans want is local boy and NT striker Hisato Sato, but after the game, the events that transpired have me torn...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg_V-8sT1OQ

Sato told the fans after the game that he wants to go back to J1 with them together. Now speculation abounds that the squad is gonna be cannibalized and my unrealistic dream was that Sato would come to Omiya, a mere minutes away from his hometown of Kasukabe. I gotta admit, I'm a sucker for guys who take responsibility and stay loyal to their squads even when they drop. Going to J2 in all likelihood dooms his chances for National Team duty during the highly important qualifying campaign, so we are talking about a guy who has a lot to lose. However, I think there is something noble about a guy who sticks with his squad through dark times instea of bolting for greener (i.e. money and championships) pastures in Urawa or Osaka.

One thing that makes me believe that he is serious about staying is the fact that he did it once before when Vegalta Sendai got dropped in 2003. Sato managed to knock in 9 goals in that campaign and clearly was the best player during that campaign.

Hisato Sato, if you stay in Hiroshima, you have my respect and the respect of many others who love this game.

If you come to Omiya though, I'll buy you lunch at Wendys............and not just the 100 yen menu either.......anything you want, big fella!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Get the blindfold and plastic bats!

As Ken Matsushima put it (I'm putting it in my own words here though) It's pinata time in the J league. The highly disappointing Sanfrecce Hiroshima met an overwhelmingly predictible demise after failing to score today against newly promoted Kyoto Sanga. While the game was a tough affair which saw Sanfrecce dominate the first half and even out in the second, the real story is where is all that talent going to go? You think that Verdy in 2005 was a looting? Wait until you get a load of what is going to leave Hiroshima in 2008. Already rumors are spreading about Ancient goal poacher Ueslei heading south to Kyushu to play for Oita Trinita. U-23 starter and hairdo tragedy Yosuke Kashiwagi has been marked by Urawa for recruitment http://www.nikkansports.com/soccer/p-sc-tp0-20071207-292339.html. NT midfielder/defender Yuichi Komano has been linked to Yokohama F Marinos in WSM and WSD print editions.

Watch the stories in the next week. They are going to come in fast and furious.....and i'll bet that Ramos has his profound nose in the middle of a couple!

YOKOHAMA FC has their dream dashed in Nagasaki

In the 89th minute Ehime DF (I think......) Shingo Hoshino scored to put Ehime up 2-1 and dash the dreams of elderly people everywhere. Both teams were coming off big wins against Asian supersquad Urawa Reds and both could claim momentum. However Ehime will go through. And Kazu will just get older.

Somehow this song seems fitting (And again I have a sneaking suspicion Ken Matsushima beat me to it awhile ago) Anyhow here's to the old men of Yokohama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO9dbmJ_2zU

The big story of the day however was that of corporate JFL squad Honda FC knocking off Nagoya Grampus Eight to advance to the final 8 against new J League champions Kashima Antlers.

Other winners include Shimizu, Gamba, FC Tokyo, Kawasaki, and Jubilo

Friday, December 07, 2007

THE WISH LIST.....SO FAR

Here are a collection of early candidates that new Executive Director Rui Ramos is looking at to add to the squad.

FW Shota Matsuhashi is 25 and has spent 7 glorious years frolicking in the Kyushu sun for Oita. Matsuhashi followed up a breakthrough 2006 (10 goals),with a more pedestrian 2 goals and 1 assist. Matsuhashi has seen his time whittled down by the emergence of Daisuke Takahashi. Matsuhashi is known for his speed and is built alot like Kazunori Iio. Nikkan Sports has the story http://www.nikkansports.com/soccer/p-sc-tp0-20071207-292342.html



Yasuhiro Hato is 31, respected around the league and virtually clueless. The physical back still has skills but has the propensity to take plays off and make awful decisions. A late season surge in form did nothing to cleanse my mind of pensive play, bad passes, and lazy man marking resulting in dangerous chances for the opponent. Possibly being forced out by new Omiya man and former Marinos coach Yasuhiro Higuchi, who was around during the demise of Hato's Marinos career. The past 4 years with him as a main contributor have seen his teams finish 16th,16th, 12th, and 15th........coincidence? Who knows? What I do know is that adding him to a potential back 4 will add slightly to the age.........Hato at 31, Hagimura at 32, Tsuchiya at 33, and Hattori at 34........unless they decide to go for Sidiclei at 35 to replace the "inexperienced" Hagimura.

AHHHHH........Just kidding. Yamada probably will keep his record of killing teams at 3. Although, he might look good in Chiba yellow......HMMMMMMM.

YOKOHAMA FC WATCH

Speaking of former Verdy players, Jun Tamano is victim #9 in the great FC purge of 2007. Tamano saw action in 6 games, contributing 1 assist.

Finally.......we will know in about 10 hours....maybe less......who will be the newest entrant into J1 and who will be gutted in the upcoming season. El Golazo and Yahoo!Japan are both speculating that Ryuichi Hirashige will be the starter in the biggest game of the season for the out of form Ueslei. Hirashige was signed last year from Sanfrecce youth and had yet to get his name in the scorebook until he netted possibly the biggest goal of the season for the purple squad with an 88th minute tally. His first in a league game. Speculation is that if Sanfrecce loses this game, pieces of the squad will be scattered around the league like William Wallace across the British Isles. I'm hoping Omiya can get two, namely Toshihiro Aoyama and Hisato Sato........with our inept management though it will probably be Toda and Stoyanov.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nanami out, Hato in?

Sports Hochi house of dubious rumors and news is reporting that MF Hiroshi Nanami will be heading back to Jubilo Iwata at the close of the 2007 cycle. The 35 year old former National Teamer had a disappointing year filled with injuries after a credible 2006 campaign for Cerezo Osaka. If I had to guess, I think it's for the purposes of retiring as a Jubilite.

The same rag is reporting that Omiya LB Yasuhiro Hato is a target for next years squad. Hato would be the second Omiya defender in 2 years to take the jump to Verdy after Yukio Tsuchiya did the same last campaign.

World Soccer Magazine posts their end of the year awards

And boy do they suck!!!!!!!!!

Best 11- 3-4-3 formation

GK-Takahiro Takagi Consadole (I agree......had Junnsuke Schneider stayed healthy, I imagine he would have gotten the nod)

DF- Yushi Soda Consadole (Again, no problem with this one)

DF-Yukio Tsuchiya Verdy

DF Toshihide Saito Shonan (one of two dubious Bellmare picks by WSM.......shockingly Jean, who was their best player this year.....don't argue with me....was left off the list altogether. A case could be made for Montedios Leonardo as well)

MF Daisuke Saito Kyoto
MF Toshiya Ishii Kyoto (these two I don't have a problem with, but they chose 4 from the 3rd place Kyoto squad......seriously? Did they only watch Shonan/Kyoto matches this season?)

MF Adiel- Before I start, I just want to say I like Adiel. I think he's a good player and he had a nice season. He put up a respectable 13 and 7 and his team finished 6th. Respectable but not great and certainly not best 11. Ohhhhhh there's more. Why Avispa's Alex 26 and 5 or Lopes who had similar numbers but put his squad in contention until the last two games didn't get the nod is a mystery.

MF Tatsuya Furuhashii- Nice pick and the catalyst for a season turnaround

FW Paulinho
FW Takaaki Tokushige Kyoto Again I have to question the wisdom in picking 4 off a team who didn't get straight promotion. Diego put up great numbers after he was moved up to forward and Sagan FW Yoshihito Fujita got 21 goals as the only option on their squad. Davi was great for Consadole.

FW Hulk- 37 and 14, possibly the best season ever in J2.......so who do the mouth breathers at WSM pick as their MVP?

ADIEL??????????????????

Seriously? ADIEL? What kind of joke is that?

Manager of the year went to Vegalta head man Tatsuya Mochizuki......y'know the one guy who couldn't get the job done this year. A case could be made for Ramos, Miura, and my pick Levir Culpi (Who I thought shouldn't have been hired in the first place but proved me wrong)

Unbelievable

Monday, December 03, 2007

VERDY DROPS FOUR

Today is a very sad day for Soilent Green as our favorite Verdy player "Martin" Saito gets shown the door. Hobbled by injuries and sliding down in the depth chart left the management with pretty much no choice. Saito got into 6 games, failing to score in any of them.
Taisei Fujita got into 10 games and played relatively well, but was too small and not physical enough to fill in the middle. Fujita was featured in the 3-5-2 as one of the wings when Verdy was in desperate and deserves a little credit for helping to right the ship.


GK Takuya Muro didn't see any action
Masahiro Ohashi came off the bench to help Kawasaki Frontale finish in 5th. Ohashi notched 4 goals and had 3 assists. Verdy decided to let him go instead of signing and renting him again.

The good news for these players is the introduction of FC Gifu and Rosso Kumamoto to J2 along with the rapidly thinning ranks of Yokohama FC and Ventforet Kofu. Don't be surprised if one or two of these guys are featured in a Satoshi Tsunami led lineup.


Purple Slugfest



So the final song to be sung at this year's concerto takes place on Wednesday and Saturday as southern rivals Kyoto Sanga FC and Sanfrecce Hiroshima square off. A lot of small battles will take place. No witty rejoinders here, let's dig in and take a look at the situation at hand, shall we?
Forwards: It's a definite case of injuries versus ineffectiveness as both teams have seen their scoring profiency ebb and flow throughout the year. Sanfrecce's combo of Hisato Sato and Ueslei have 29 goals between the two of them, but just 3 since the end of September (All Sato). Kyoto, meanwhile has had to trudge along without its two star Brazilian strikers, Andre and Paulinho. How far Sanga can go depends on the duo of Yutaka Tahara and Takaaki Tokushige who have notched 9 and 8 goals respectively. If Paulinho can go, Kyoto is far more dangerous. If he can't, Kyoto is gonna struggle.
Midfield: On paper, it looks like a blowout for Sanfrecce. Led by Japan National Teamer Yuichi Komano, the boasts a ton of speed and talent in the middle. The loss of U-23 DM Toshihiro Aoyama hasn't helped, but the squad boasts depth at all 5 spots, occasionally using either Toda or Stovanov as a point for the defense. Kyoto has relied on a triangle of Toshiya Ishii, Daisuke Saito, and Hiroki Nakayama to anchor the center of the field. If the triangle stands, Kyoto will do well. If they fail, Kyoto is done.
Defense: Arguably the weak links for both squads. Sanfrecce let up an atrocious 71 goals......the next worst was Yokohama FC with 66. Kazuyuki Toda and Illyan Stovanov are the two key members in a 3 back and both have been woeful. GK Takashi Shimoda is having arguably the worst season of his career, letting in soft goals. Kyoto goes with a 4 back defense that was middle of the pack in J2. the key man in the back is Ryuzo Morioka who anchors the back in the middle. GK Naohito Hirai will have to be at the top of his game because Sanfrecce loves to push up and take a ton of shots.
Bench: Depending on injuries, Paulinho could be a key man late in the game off the bench. U-23 MF Yosuke Kashiwagi is a dangerous weapon off the bench. However if he has to start, Sanfrecce is in trouble for sure.
Coaching: A case can be made that Mihailio Petrovic has been the worst coach in the J League for 2007. Julio Leal might have soemthing to say about it but if someone has done less with more, I'd love for someone to educate me on this. Hisashi Kato stepped in late for an ineffective Naohiko Minobe and steadied a listless ship. Seemingly, Kato has not made a wrong step in his brief tenure as head man.
Intangibles: Well, Sanfrecce last won in league competition on September 1st against Yokohama FC. Their last 10 games have produced a mere 3 points and a 0-7-3 record. The good news for them is that the last time they played a J2 squad in a meaningful competition, they won 3-0 against Shonan Bellmare. In the same stretch, Kyoto has a 4-4-1 record, including a big win against Vegalta Sendai to ensure the playoff spot. However the end of 2007 had both teams tying......eerily, Sanfrecce stole a tie at the same point in their game as Kyoto was losing their win to Thespa Kusatsu. Sanfrecce played with a ton of first stringers out and really nothing to gain or lose. We'll see how they respond with the return of key players Ueslei, Toda, Stoyanov, and Kasuyuki Morisaki.
Final Verdict- Sanfrecce has been asking to be dropped from the start and now they have their chance. On paper this should be a cakewalk for the Hiroshima club, but bad management and a lack of heart has shown through. Time and time again, this squad has failed to step up in must win games and I don't think it will change. Alot o young talent waits in the wings for Hiroshima and maybe a drop would be just the ticket to shake them out of their doldrums. Kyoto seems to want to be in J1 and I think they will find a way to scratch their way into it when all is said and done.
But I could be completely off.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What's Missing


If you said 1969, you'd be correct. According to JIJI press, next year will be the end of Tokyo Verdy 1969 and the beginning of Tokyo Verdy

It's Official:RAMOS UP, HASHIRATANI IN, AND TSUNAMI OUT

Straight on the heels of the clinching of J1 promotion comes the news of a shakeup in Casa De Verdy. Up goes Rui Ramos who will have the title of Executive Director. It's not clear if this was the original agreement when he took over two years ago or if this was mutually agreed to after his contract expired.
Out goes Satoshi Tsunami to take over the reigns from the hapless Julio Leal at Yokohama FC
The new man in charge is Tetsuji Hashiratani, who last headed up a squad in 2002 for Consadole Sapporo. After 5 years of being a head coach for Urawa and Verdy, Hashiratani gets the chance to lead a new era of j1 play for Verdy.

Many things to say

Well, I didn't think he could do it but he did it.........after yesterdays 2-2 draw to Cerezo, it became official. Verdy will be in J1 next season. As one of Rui's biggest detractors, I must have a tasty plate of crow and admit that I was wrong. The best decision this season was not the addition of Diego, Tsuchiya, Hattori, etc. The best decision was not changing brands to Kappa. The best decision was not even letting the talented Hulk run wild over J2 while donning a green shirt. The best decision this season was by upper management, who bucked popular opinion and stuck with a very beleaguered coach after a disastrous 5-1 loss to Mito Hollyhock. It would have been easy for th team to quit on him, and it looked like they did at one point, but he got them back and led them to second place. Congratulations Verdy.......and congratulations Ramos.

On another note, the tabloids are in full swing on the story of Ramos stepping down as head man and actually stepping up to be the backroom Machiavelli as Technical Director. Tetsuji Hashiratani would take over the reigns as manager with I presume former Yokohama FC man Takuya Takagi stepping in as head coach (speculation on my part but I believe he is part of the organization as an advisor). I'm a bit dubious on ramos ability to spot talent but this makes sense on alot of levels knowing the tight-knit relationship between Hashiratani and Ramos. Wanna know how important the connection between the TD and the manager? Just look up the road to Omiya, where the relationship between Satoru Sakuma, Robert Verbeek, and key players who chafed under an ill-fitting system. It's a strange move but not a bad one. Also a nod to helping out a friend who has waited patiently for a shot.

One of the few dark spots on this year's campaign was the string of injuries and disappointing play of legendary MF Hiroshi Nanami. Yesterday's game saw the longtime Jubilo stalwart in a surprise start against his former team. Speculation is that Nanami will hang up his spikes after this year. One of the hardest things for great players.....as the old saying goes.....is knowing when to quit.

Yokohama FC ends their J1 campaign on a VERY HIGH NOTE

All defending Champion Urawa had to do was not lose to Yokohama FC.......and they couldn't do it. Former Verdy MF Shingo Nejime scored off of a pass from Kazu Miura to notch the only goal on the day. Urawa had a heck of a week, losing their Emperor's Cup crown to a J2 squad and their J1 title to the worst team in J1 history...........Way to go Holger!

Two former Verdy players get the axe. MF Takashi Hirano and Vegalta GK Kyomitsu Kobari got their walking papers this week. Hirano played in 3 games for 15th place Omiya, scoring a sweet goal against Yokohama F Marinos. Kobari managed to get in 11 games after Junnsuke Schneider went down with an injury.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Ramos to retire,maybe?

We'll get to the big upset in a minute..........

Hochi Yomiuri is reporting that Rui Ramos might opt not to renew his contract and let his former teammate and current Verdy head coach Tetsuji Hashiratani take over the reigns of the newly (soon) minted J1 squad. It has been a very long year Ramos with his woeful beginning and the loss of his mother, so leaving after mission accomplished would seem to be the smart thing.

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/soccer/jleague/news/20071129-OHT1T00059.htm

Two Yokohama FW's to Fukuoka? Nikkan Sports is reporting that U-20 beanpole Mike Haavenar is possibly headed to Avispa for a one year loan.

http://www.nikkansports.com/soccer/p-sc-tp0-20071129-289067.html

Also recently released striker Tatsuhiko Kubo might end up in Avispa as well

I believe that was Hochi so take it with a grain of salt.


Finally, big congratulations go to Ehime FC who went to Urawa and upset the defending J League, Emperor's Cup, and ACL champs 2-0 off the glorious foot of Toshiya Tanaka. Great job and good luck to them against Yokohama FC.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An old friend returns

Today out of Yokohama, reports are that Kazu Miura is indeed staying in Yokohama on their way down to J2. Ohhh, did you think that was the old friend?

Nope, not it........Verdy reported that Masaki Iida will finally be a full member of the squad for next year after on again, off again bouts of training and playing at Ryutsu Keizai for both the university squad and the JFL side........but that's not it....

No I'm referring to our good friend Nick who has some thoughts about the season as a whole and the final game

Nick has left a new comment on your post "The silly season is upon us": Well the last time Verdy were top of the league was on opening day after the 5-0 demolition of Thespa Kusatsu. Its been a VERY long time coming but what a time to return to the summit!! The season has had its ups and downs and has been a true rollercoaster ride. Ramos and the boys have been up and and down like the proverbial prozzies undies. A good start saw us among the contenders after a few games as was expected. However, from nowhere came the six game losing streak. At this time even the most ardent Ramos fans would have been wondering what the heck was going on?? Things came to a head against a Mito side who were struggling at the foot of the table. They came to National Stadium and gave us an absolute a total shoeing. Hiramoto started the scoring early with a somewhat flukey effort, but following this the entire side seemed to capitulate. The final scoreline was entirely fair. Hammered by the bottom of the league. This was when the front office obviously made its decision. They were to stick by Ramos through thick or thin.Everybody was calling for his head,myself included.This would have been prime time to fire him. However, the permed one kept his job and a couple of weeks later the boys turned up to give Kyoto a sound 4-1 beating. Our form continued to be consistently inconsistent, win 2, draw 1 lose 3.. Nothing was on the horizon except mid table mediocrity. Then, Hiramoto was shipped out a move that surprised a few, again myself included. And Hulk exploded into form. Over the last section of the season we have been nearly unbeatable, only 2 defeats in 22 games. Incredible from a team who couldn`t string two decent results together in the first half of the season.The big test came in late September when were to face the big three in the division in successive games. And what a way to do it!! 2-1 away to Kyoto, 4-1 away to Sendai and then the pick of the bunch a 5-1 pasting of Sapporo at Ajinomoto. We had put ourselves firmly in the reckoning for the first time this season. Our form continued again in the same vein but the other teams kept their own runs going too. The promotion race had been hotting up with 6 teams all with a shout with 3 games to go. We drew our crunch battle with Sendai which kept them at arms length and the others stumbled also.Including our inactive week when none of the teams around us could come up with a win!!This led to Sundays game with Ehime....if we won we would be virtually guaranteed straight promotion!!!!??? Shocking considering where we were earlier in the season.


And so to Sunday.....I could go into some long winded disscusion about the technicalities of the win,the chances that came and went and the flight of the ball as it slammed into the back of the net but, that is secondary when we consider the importance of Sunday.Not just for Verdy but for all fans everywhere. We all sit and watch footy in all corners of the world in vague hope of days like Sunday. They only come around very occasionally for most fans (unless you are a Man U/Milan etc supporter.We sit in freezing drizzle watching guys who we usually reckon we could do better than anyway in the hope of seeing something special with a bunch of like minded other people.The hope of any fan is to witness days like Sunday. Their team on the up. We hope to sit and watch countless games throughout the years that culminate in a make or break day like Sunday. Sometimes it happens usually it doesn`t.All fans need a bit of danger!! Omiya had the same excitement last week, the whole seasons work balanced on a knife edge. Theres was in a potentially negative way but the excitement is still the same. Winner takes all, loser takes nothing. When the stakes are so high, the quality of what is on the pitch fades into insignificance. The result is all that matters. You see it from the extra numbers in the stadium, the tension before the game, supporters baying for blood at any marginal decision. Fantastic!! The crowd was 14,000 at the weekend and while this doesn`t seem so much in wider terms,given the fact that Ehime had about 200 supporters,it just goes to show there some dormant Verdy fans out there!! Let`s hope they continue to come!! I still have to pinch myself to believe we are going back up and Ramos is still at the helm. There is nothing we can say about the guy. He has done the job that was expected from him. He might have gone all round the houses to do it,but he HAS done it.My hat goes off to the permed one. He has got a promotion in his second full year of management, saw out an extremely rocky period and come out the other side with the potential for a championship next week. Its a great week to be a Verdy fan!!! As a Verdy fan great weeks don`t come along so often so to all Verdy boys out there, a toast to El Permo and his Magic Donkey!! He`s still a donkey but because of his heroics on Sunday he could maybe be left to live out his days in a field somewhere nice and green instead of a direct line to the glue factory. Maybe they can name a bench or a corrider after him at Verdy HQ. Well done Funakoshi!! Every donkey has its day!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The silly season is upon us

The Hochi Yomiuri House of unfounded rumors is reporting that Ramos has tipped Yuji "Bomberhead" Nakazawa to be the first reinforcement for the J1 version of Tokyo Verdy 1969. Nakazawa left the squad in 2002 to join an up and coming Yokohama F Marinos side, two world cups and a couple of championships later, Nakazawa has seen his Marinos team struggle to rise above mid-table. Hochi Yomiuri reports that Verdy is willing to start the bidding at 80 million yen to team the star centerback with Yukio Tsuchiya.

I'll believe it when I see it.

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/soccer/jleague/news/20071126-OHT1T00092.htm

Nikkan Sports has Gamba again trying to purloin a Brazilian off another J League squad. First it was the pair from Omiya, Denis Marques and Leandro.......then it was Montedio anchor Leonardo, now the rumor is they are going after the captain of FC Tokyo, Lucas. Honestly, who was the last foreign talent Gamba brought in to the league? Mboma?

Get a scouting department and do the leg work yourself.........and one more thing, BEAT SANFRECCE.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Bloodletting begins!

Yokohama FC delivered on its promise of severing ties with a good portion of their team. Included in the list were two former national teamers from long ago. Let's get down to it before the bodies get cold The biggest name in the bunch was MF Motohiro Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi was a regular during the amazing run to J1. One of the old Flugels, Yamaguchi helped anchor the squad.
Tomoyuki Yoshino joined in 2006 from Shonan Bellmare. Yoshino got into 9 games
Yohei Sakai was a little used midfielder who joined in 2005 from the Marinos youth program. Yoichi Akiba joined the team last year from college. He managed 2 games.
Norio Omura is a well traveled DF who appeared in 17 games for FC. Omura started with Marinos and floated around until ending up last year in Yokohama.

Mitsunori Yabuta, a 31 year old forward and Kazuya Iwakura also got the axe.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's not over but........


The picture is old but the sentiment is not as forgotten man Yuzo Funakoshi popped his head up after a 3 month slumber in Satellite purgatory and collected 2 goals to push Verdy over Ehime 2-1. The victory propels the Tokyo squad into a tie tie for first with a +13 goal differential. This virtually guarantees straight promotion and puts the side into a great position to win a championship for the firt time since the Emperor's Cup victory of 2004.
Falling just short but being eliminated were Shonan Bellmare, Cerezo Osaka, and perennial bridesmaid Vegalta Sendai. Next up for Tokyo is a game against Cerezo Osaka and you have to wonder what kind of teams and performances will happen for both sides.
Two teams in precarious positions are Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Kyoto Sanga FC. The squads have some serious decisions to make regarding how they will go about preparing for the next week. Kyoto needs Consadole to collapse at home to a gutty Mito side. Meanwhile, they have to go on the road to Kusatsu. Now, do they rest their regulars for the game on Wednesday, or go all out and hope for the best. Tough question.
Sanfrecce is in a more precarious position. Going into their final game as hosts to Gamba Osaka, Sanfrecce must first win against the Nabisco Cup Champions. Not impossible considering the team is in a funk following the defection of Magno Alves to Al Itthad. Second, they need Omiya to lose to Kawasaki Frontale. Again, this is a likely scenario considering that Kawasaki is on fire. The tricky part comes when you realize that Sanfrecce must also make up an 11 goal differential. Another hurdle for Sanfrecce is the loss of Captain Kazuyuki Toda to yellow card points, Illyan Stovanov to a red card, and U-22 star Toshihiro Aoyama to a foot injury (for the rest of the season). I'm not sure but yellow card suspensions might carry over to the playoff. If they do, Ueslei is on 3, so another yellow would render him out for at least one game and probably two. Sanfrecce goes into the match with a dismal 0-2-7 record. The ties were probably the most distressing of the two because they happened in the final moments of the game, including two goals in stoppage time to JEF Ichihara Chiba.
Do you rest the squad and take a hit, possibly entering the game with no momentum? Or do you risk the low odds and go all out, possibly losing one or more players to red cards or injuries?
Tough questions. If I had to choose between the two, I'd give Kyoto a slight advantage because of momentum.......but who knows.
GAMBA NEEDS TO HIRE A FOREIGN SCOUT......
Rumors abound that Gamba is looking to find fill-ins for Sidiclei and Magno Alves up north. Sports Hochi Yomiuri has reported that in addition to Omiya striker Denis Marques and Kyoto striker Paulinho, the southern powerhouse is now looking at central defenders Leanardo from Montedio Yamagata and Omiya saviour Leandro. You could possibly see an all Omiya Brazilian trio in Bare, Denis, and Leandro. You might also see an angry blogger defecating in the middle of Koshien while eating a big bucket of Kentucky. Hey Gamba, find your own imports! And do your job next week. Besides, Alex and Chika would look much better in blue.

Final subs



Sugasaki in for Ehime-----Shibasaki for Verdy. Takagi gets a yellow for stalling I presume
20-6 on shots

Bikkuri Donkey with a Brace!

2-1 with 11 minutes to go

Verdy subs



Silva and Inoue in for Iio and Hiroyama........shots 16-4, corner kicks 5-0

Ehime subs



Tanaka and Akai

Halftime

Much like the game in May, Verdy has an overwhelming shot advantage but Ehime has managed to even up

10-2 on shots
2-0 corners

I feel a landslide coming......one more goal and this game is gonna break wide open

1-1

Yoshihiro Uchimura evens the score for Ehime............not in J1 yet, boys!

Bikkuri Donkey returns





Against this back 4, Mighty Funakoshi returns to give Verdy an early lead.......more updates later

WAIT THERE'S MORE

YOKOHAMA FC WATCH

Today was a historic day for the former Flugels as they managed to stretch their J1 winless streak to 20 games. Under embattled coach Julio Leal, the team has managed 2 goals and 2 ties out of 11 games total. Leal's major strategic move was to insert 40 year old Kazu Miura back into a permanent starting spot and the results have been telling. Next week marks the final game for the FC against Asian Champs Urawa. Urawa is desperate for a win, a tie would spell possible doom with a hard charging Kashima Antlers facing Shimizu in the finale of 2007. Wouldn't it be ironic (wink wink........errr......convienient) if the Asian Champs were to drop the game to the worst team in J League history. AMAZING J!

One more rumor to pass along involving Sanfrecce Hiroshima and their burly striker Ueslei.....it seems Oita is keen to pick the big man in hopes of bulking up their scoring. Ueslei is thiiiiiiiiiis close to becoming the all-time leader in scoring for the J League and teaming up with the young and talented frontline of Oita might be just the thing that gets him over the top. Although, it needs to be pointed out that Ueslei led teams seem to drop like stones in the ranking pool so it's a bit of a risk taing him on. And he's pushing 36......eventually the tap will go dry.

BREAKING NEWS: Kashiwa to change name to Antlers

Kashiwa and Kashima will switch their names and colors starting in the 2008 season......Allright, I screwed up, sue me!

In other news, FC Chiba has new uniforms for 2008

http://www.jsgoal.jp/photo/00028300/00028347.html

OOPS, I mean FC Tokyo.

Anyhow let's get to some solid news and rumors galore

J2 Has a new member.......

Venforet Kofu dropped a 2-1 decision to KashiWa today when Tatsuya Suzuki notched a late counter goal against the hard chargers from Yamanashi. Just two years ago, the little team that could managed to knock off one of the more colorful franchises in J League history with an onslaught of goals behind now Gamba superstriker Bare. Unfortunately, Kofu was unable to find one guy that could consistently finish. Usually, I would write a piece detailing where to carve a dead squad up, but I'm hoping most of these guys can stay together and make a charge for J1 next year. If effort was a determining factor in championships, hands down this squad would be crowned king. Good luck next year and here's hoping for a quick turnaround.

On the other hand, the highly talented and completely gutless Sanfrecce Hiroshima finds itself on the edge of the J2 abyss with a 3-0 loss to Kawasaki Frontale. Ilyan Stoyanov capped off a dismal season with a red card, thereby rendering him null and void for the upcoming battle against Gamba Osaka and possibly the relegation/promotion battle if they are not able to overcome an 11 goal deficit.

Omiya won 2-1 versus FC Tokyo in the best game I've ever witnessed at Ajinomoto. Go! Go! Omiya Ardija! will have more details later so I won't go into details. The win most likely guarantees the Squirrels another go in J1. Call me relieved more than anything.

GAMBA OSAKA has some striker issues.

Magno Alves has left the club and will be joining Al Itthad. Rumor is that striker Denis Marques will be taking his place next season......for a hefty price one would assume. Omiya still retains a contract until the end of June 2008 so it's gonna cost em.

KashiWa midfielder Alceu has left the squad and gone back to Brazil. The midfielder was excellent this year for the Chiba side .

Happy trails to Shimizu Striker Yoshikiyo Kuboyama and Gamba DF Noritada Saneyoshi.

Kuboyama was a member of the defunct Yokohama Flugels before joing Shimizu.
Saneyoshi was one of the team captains for Gamba and has been a member from 1995, giving him the longest tenure at the club.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Kashiwa unis 2008



OK.......the road unis are great but the home kits...........looks like a cross between Freddy Kruger and a gondolier.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

El Golazo's 11 and rumors from around the league

Here is the selection

GK Takagi
DF Kaimoto-Tsuchiya-Tomisawa-Hattori
MF Hiroyama-Ono-Sugawara-Iio
FW Diego-Silva

I imagine we'll see a combo of Shibasaki, Sato or Nagai, Inoue or Funakoshi, and a defender on the bench

Of note is the fact that Tsuchiya, Ono, and Diego are all sitting on three yellows. A disaster is on the horizon if Verdy manages to not win and lose all three to yellows......can you imagine what that lineup would look like against Cerezo?

Magno to Saudi Arabia?

Hochi Yomiuri is reporting that Magno Alves has been in double secret super quiet negotiations to leave Gamba for Al Ithad of Saudi Premier league. Recently, Magno has been linked to FC Tokyo, Shimizu, and Al Wahada of the UAE. One place I can absolutely rule out is Omiya.

J2 Watch

Sanfrecce and U-22 D midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama injured his foot in the Beijing clinching 0-0 tie against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. Aoyama was the hero for the young Samurai when he cleared a dangerous shot off the line in the 9th minute to help preserve a clean sheet. Aoyama will be on the shelf for two months and will miss the final 2 critical games for Sanfrecce against Kawasaki and Gamba.

An always interesting preview of the upcoming game between FC Tokyo and 15th place Omiya can be found at Go!Go!Omiya Ardija!----------or here http://furtho.blog4.fc2.com/blog-entry-1023.html#comment2977 If you look close enough, you can see some angry comments from an unnamed blogger.

Kofu ventures into the place where their J1 adventure began. A slumping Kashiwa Reysol will try to do to Ventforet what the Yamanashi side did to them.......send them down to the two. Actually, I think that Kashiwa should actually roll over and die in thanks for the drop to J2....the team is in much better shape now then they were when they finished 16th twice.

Finally, the game of the week in J2 pits Vegalta against an erratic Kyoto side. Both teams need a max 3 points and had somewhat disappointing results in their last campaign. A tie might be the worst possible thing for both squads with a banged up but hard charging Cerezo side lurking in 5th.

Things are going to shake out tomorrow......we should see what 2008 is gonna look like with these games. Nerve racking stuff indeed!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FC TOKYO NEWS and Osieck Japan?

First off......news from the gashouse. The team officially announced today that former World Cup squad members Yoichi Doi and Takashi Fukunishi both will not be returning to the club next season. Doi is 34 and saw a sharp decline in the past year. Hitoshi Shiota took over for the FC Tokyo stalwart halfway through this campaign.

Fukunishi seems to still have some life left in him at 31. Tagged as a final piece to pushing FCT to respectability, the squad and the man have both failed to live up to expectations. I imagine a man like ths with Jubilo and NT roots would be attractive to another Tokyo team so I imagine he won't go far.

Also on his way out is two time Gaffer Hiromi Hara. Hara was brought in to steady the squad after a bad 2006 campaign. He failed.

Finally, former FC Tokyo bust Paolo Wanchope announced his retirement after stinking it up in MLS for Chicago. Amazing that this was the same player that shined for Costa Rica against Germany.

Holger Osieck has been rumored to take over the reigns for the ailing Ivica Osim. I think it would be a great move.........for Urawa. Replacing the mundane Osieck with say a much more deserving Gert Engels would be a master stroke for the newly crowned ACL champs. Osieck meanwhile has led a very talented squad to the most joyless championship run ever. You can do better JFA.

Finally, happy trails to longtme Kashima Antler and current Kyoto Sanga DF Yutaka Akita who announced his retirement from the j League. 405 games for the rugged D man.

Here is the matrix

Sahara cup rd of 16....errr, 18

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby birds, a view of next week, and other news

Let's start it off with a big congratlations to Verdy Youth, who claimed first place in a tough Group A over JEF United Chiba and Consadole Sapporo. With the win, Verdy youth lock up a spot in the next round.

Verdy fought against a game Shizuoka FC in a training match at lovely Verdy grounds with the green machine claiming a 5-1 victory

In a glimpse of what the nappy one is thinking, Verdy went with a combination of Silva and Diego up top with Hiroyama, Sugawara, Ono, and Inoue filling in the midfield. Silva started the scoring and then Inoue, Diego, Funakoshi, and Iio chipped in some more. Silva's not a bad selection up top and his speed might cause some issues for Ehime.

Around J2.........I put this part in Pink because I mention Cerezo Osaka getting stunned with a 2-2 draw at Thespa. Now Thespa is turning out to be a pain in the hind section to all the big boys of J2. The tie was rough for Cerezo because not only do they go into their next match against Mito missing 4 starters, the room for error is now officially nil.

Consadole came back from a 1 goal deficit to steal a draw from Kyoto and become the first team to qualify for the top three. A combination of a tie or a Kyoto loss or tie guarantees straight promotion for the northernmost J League squad. Good news for Verdy fans is that it opens the door for Verdy to steal the J2 championship away from Consadole and claim it for themselves. A win next week also pretty much guarantees straight promotion for the Tokyo squad.

Shonan kept their promotion hopes alive barely with a 3-2 win at Vegalta. Last week it looked like Vegalta was in the drivers seat with a 1-0 lead early against Verdy, but now find themselves in 4th with the loss. How come it seems like Vegalta always finishes 4th?

Finally, one guy I'd like to see get a contract in the J League is Watford MF Al Bangura. Bangura is a 19 year old Sierra Leone refugee who is in danger of being sent back to his country for no apparent reason http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/16112007/58/championship-watford-youngster-deported.html Bangura's story is the stuff that movies are made of. His father was a part of a secret society that demanded offspring join after the death of a member. Rejecting the tradition, Bangura fell into the hands of a less than savory character in France, who wanted to turn the young midfielder into a homosexual prostitute. Bangura refused, applied to England for asylum and was found by Watford officials playing soccer in a park. Two years later, Bangura is a regular for the squad and by all accounts a solid member of his community. Going back to Sierra Leone could be a death sentence. Now, if I were an enterprising team in......say.......Saitama who wears orange and was looking for young premiership type talent and great pr, I would be on the phone with Watford today saying loan us the kid for a year while you sort this out. I will be checking up on the Bangura story. More of the Bangura story is here (which I pretty much copied above) BBC news http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/4880822.stm