Tuesday, January 30, 2007
For an excellent synopsis of what went down, Ken Matsushima at Rising Sun News posts about the Prodigy
Catch the video of the goal.......not a clean one but he sticks with it....reminds me of the Hiramoto goal against Yokohama FC in the pissing rain.
It looks like the brains in America had an epiphany and decided to make MLS into a reality show ALA Big Brother. Chivas USA (the team in LA that doesn't have the human commercial playing midfield) is starting a show where 2000 hopefuls from around the world try to acheive their dream of making the roster of a middle table football club in a less than glamourous league.
The link is here
One can only pray for a show on TV Ibaraki somewhere in the distant future called MITO HOLLYHOCK-Chasing the Dream Dragon! Knowing Japanese TV it would probably involve those creepy Kano sisters and SMAP sitting around eating tofu dishes and boring the hell out of me. Oishiiiiii neeeeee
Monday, January 29, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
-5ゼ・ Ze Luis
12 YOUR NAME HERE
26柴崎貴 Shibasaki GK
29 福田 Fukuda
35オサマ El Samni
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
ザスパ草津 Thespa Kusatsu
国立 Tokyo National
愛媛ＦＣ Ehime FC
ベガルタ仙台 Vegalta Sendai
セレッソ大阪 Cerezo Osaka
モンテディオ山形 Montedio Yamagata
アビスパ福岡 Avispa Fukuoka
京都サンガF.C. Kyoto Sanga
湘南ベルマーレ Shonan Bellmare
コンサドーレ札幌 Consadole Sapporo
徳島ヴォルティス Tokushima Vortis
サガン鳥栖 Sagan Tosu
水戸ホーリーホック Mito Hollyhock
京都サンガF.C. Kyoto Sanga
モンテディオ山形 Montedio Yamagata
湘南ベルマーレ Shonan Bellmare
アビスパ福岡 Avispa Fukuoka
徳島ヴォルティス Tokushima Vortis
ベガルタ仙台 Vegalta Sendai
ザスパ草津 Thespa Kusatsu
コンサドーレ札幌 Consadole Sapporo
セレッソ大阪 Cerezo Osaka
サガン鳥栖 Sagan Tosu
Ohhhhhh....I'm tired now. Tough road games to start, which is not a bad thing.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
ZAKZAK is reporting that Verdy made a "love call" to former national teamer Hide Nakata in yet another attempt to bring in a big name. Nakata said that he would never play in the J League again.
I can't see him playing for Verdy..................Boston, Massachussetts however is a place I could see him playing.
Verdy started back up with the training after taking a break for the New Years holiday. The team ventures to Miyazaki for camp on February 8th for a nine day trek of sun and fun. Guam is out, Miyazaki is the new in Vogue spot.
Other squads in Miyazaki for camps include FC Tokyo, Kawasaki, Gamba, Kashima, and Yokohama F Marinos from J1 and Thespa, Vegalta, Avispa, and Cerezo from J2.
Two matches have been set for the preseason in February. Verdy takes on FC Tokyo on the 25th and Shimizu S Pulse on the 9th.
Bismarck rated as the best Verdy foreign player in WSM
Weekly Soccer Magazine, usually woefully inadequate in their coverage of anything not National team related put together an excellent feature on all the foreign players that have passed through the J League. It's so good that even Rickhiki gets a little nod in the annals of foreigners past and present.
Not sure how they came up with this top 5 but here it is
1. Bismarck 93-96 2. Pereira 92-95 3. Edmundo 01-02 4. Marquinos 01-02 5. Mboma 03-04
Other Verdy notables include Hulk at number 5 for Consadole Sapporo and Marcus who made it for Albirex Niigata and Kawasaki Frontale.
Verdyblog put together a great collection of pictures from the Shimizu-Doha Japan old timers match
If you want to check out the pictures, they are here
Schedule comes out tomorrow!!!!!!!!!
Xerox Cup was announced.......Gamba/Reds........AGAIN! Just replay one of last years games. Seriously.
Also T-minus 7 days till Diego has his rental agreement expire. He is not on Kashiwa's 2007 roster.
Monday, January 22, 2007
1. It looks like Ulsan Hyundai put in a bid for Diego as well but Verdy is the frontrunner. This was taken from Kazu 1968 who got this off The Kashiwa site. How sweet would it be for Verdy to not only steal the best player from a team that relegated them just 2 seasons ago AND beat out the team that knocked them out of the ACL last year?
2. Nothing will probably be official until after the 31st......that's when the Kashiwa rental deal with Palmieras expires. Ramos hinted at the press conference that something would be known THIS WEEK.
* I also know a kid who plays for the Kashiwa youth system who said that he's gone and leaving for Verdy......he's 13 and a bad student, so take it with a pound of salt!!!!!!!!
Around the League
Three signings to speak of
Mito striker Anderson is going to fill in at striker for the departed Tatsunori Arai at Sagan
Consadole made it official with former Cerezo DF Bruno Quadros
Junnsuke Schneider is leaving Tosu to play GK for Vegalta Sendai
I'll try to get a big list later in the week!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Rui is victorious in his return to the field.
Rui Ramos and the rest of Team Japan 1994 beat a collection of Shimizu All Stars 2-1. Players who might be familiar to Verdy fans included Head Coach Hashiratani, Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, The Miura brothers, and Teruo Iwamoto as well as two active players (Hattori and Nanami).
A crowd of over 17,000 came out to see the old lions go at it one last time. To put it in perspective, that's 3 times what Verdy averaged last year for games that count in the standings.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Marcus has joined Yokohama F Marinos. I don't have enough details on whether or not it's a full transfer or a loan because I believe he signed with Verdy for this year.
Marcus appeared in 25 games for Verdy, racking up 5 goals and assisting on 4 more. Verdy in fact revamped their lineup and system to accomodate the longtime veteran of J League battles. It was a little strange to see him get released by Kawasaki last year after putting up a pretty decent work rate and it's even stranger now to see him getting swooped up back to J1 by a squad that seemingly has the money to get a higher priced, bigger name player. Now it will be interesting to see who is brought in on that third foreign spot.
Signs point to Diego
Kashiwa held a press conference saying that Diego is probably leaving Kashiwa. No word on if that means he's going back to Brazil or joining up with Verdy.
During the Verdy press conference, Ramos stated that he is in the middle of negotiations for the 3rd spot.
Look for news later in the week........I'm guessing right before the big FAN DAY.
The Good- Three new keeper uniforms (Dark Blue with light blue stripes on the side, Purple with grey, and a Yellow/Black combo). Nice kits........banished the pink and baby blue to Tosu where they belong.
The road uniform is light grey with a green solid stripe on the sleeves and down the side. Little orange lines down the front sides are a nice touch.
The Bad- The home kits are all green (shirt and shorts). It's overwhelming on first sight. I have gotten a bit more used to it, but my rule is Dark shirt-light shorts. Especially if you aren't using blue/red/black as your primary color on your shirts. Black or dark brown would have been OK as shorts for a green shirt. I'm not crazy about it.
The CyberAgent Ameba logo is very prevalent on the shirt. Too much. Last year, the Ameba was big but it kind of fit with the kit because it looked like a shamrock. This year it's too wordy.
The Ugly- The two Kappa hos are all over this kit like a Chinese Massage girl on a drunk tourist in Roppongi. The Kappa dog definetely marked their green territory on this one. Two Huge logos on the sleeve and two more big ones on the sides.
They're not the best, but they aren't the worst either.
Yokohama FC takes the cake with this abomination.
Omiya harkens back to a more classic look.........ROLLERBALL from the 70's. Ughhh.
Urawa did something doubly bad...........first one was the backwards S of SAVAS, which screams "cutesy".....like Toys R Us or something with the two naked little kids holding hands and saying "Love is". The DHL iron on jersey for the ACL screams out Girls REC Softball......it's pretty bad.
So Verdy is not awful but not great. Shimizu, Ehime, and Kyoto went with more classic looks and did a nice job.
Unbelievable. Just two years ago he was a keeper for the Japanese U-23 team in the Athens Olympics and now he's out of a job. Kurokawa saw no time for Verdy last year (in my opinion a mistake........HIROKI MIZUHARA????) so it's hard to judge the performance of the keeper last year. Near the end of the season, Kurokawa was sent to Chiba on loan as a backup but his deal wasn't renewed. With the crush at the keeper position in Shizuoka, Kurokawa found himself to be the odd man out and looking for a new job.
At only 25, Kurokawa still has the pedigree and potential to be a decent contributor to a squad if he gets the chance. Here's hoping he does.
Press conference today
There's a press conference today for the new players and (I think) the unveiling of the new uniforms.
Here's hoping they don't look like this!
I'm sure he's a nice enough guy and he works hard but I hope he gets loaned out.
Now here's something a bit nicer
Young defender Naoki Mihara has rejoined the squad. Mihara didn't see any game time last year.
He's only 19 though so baby steps. I hope he gets loaned out too, but for experience not out of spite.
Leonardo Augusto Vieria Moriera leaves the squad for Sagan Tosu
2o year old Brazilian midfielder Leonardo Moriera has left the club for Sagan Tosu. I would be more disappointed but I don't know who the hell he is. Seriously, who is he?
Anybody know? Verdy does stealth signings? So there were 8 Brazilians on the squad last year? Really?
Tokyo Derby set for February 25th
FC Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy are set to meet for the first time in 2 years on the the 25th of February. The preseason match is going to be at 2pm at Ajinomoto Stadium. This could be the first indication of how well the team will gel during the season. It also might be a dry run for a future Derby that means something. Anyhow, it's a chance to see Paulo Wanchope and the rest of the gasmen against a whole new Verdy squad.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
(For more details on this, check out Verdyblog...they lay out this story rather well.....it's where I got the tip)
Two thoughts on this
1. Why are all these talented guys choosing to either go to J2 or stay in J2 rather than fight for a spot in J1? Besides Hiramoto, 5 other guys would have decent shots at starting on some of the lower end teams in J1 but chose to join up with Verdy. Is CyberAgent pumping alot of cash into this for a quick jump to J1? Are the CyberAgents going into big debt? Is Rui really that good of a salesman?
2. How sweet would it be for Verdy to stick it to Reysol by stealing their big gun?
Diego would be an upgrade over Marcus.......the offseason gets even better? Stay tuned!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
It does cast a shadow on an absolutely perfect offseason for Verdy.........unless they replace him with Pavel Nedved. Then it would be TOO perfect.
I'll keep monitoring this situation and let you know if indeed he is gone and what unnamed Brazilian will replace him.
Ishikawa on the move to Montedio
Tatsuya Ishikawa has been sent to Montedio Yamagata on a one year loan after returning to Kashima. Ishikawa had an up and down campaign for Verdy, appearing in 21 games but never seeming to develop a decent rhythm opposite Koijiro Kaimoto. Another familiar face in an unfamiliar place.
Soccer Digest gives Verdy a AA rating for the 2007 campaign
Well, I am not alone in heaping praise on Verdy's offseason moves....WSD gave Verdy it's highest rating and the number 1 seal for offseason moves and overall team strength.
The ratings were
VERDY 2006 A 2007 AA
Kyoto 2006 A 2007 A
Avispa 2006 A 2007 B
Cerezo 2006 A 2007 B
Consadole 2006 B 2007 B
Vegalta 2006 B 2007 B
Sagan 2006 B 2007 C
Montedio 2006 C 2007 C
Shonan 2006 D 2007 C
Ehime 2006 C 2007 C
Tokushma 2006 D 2007 D
Thespa 2006 D 2007 E
Mito 2006 D 2007 E
Every position got an A rating except for the GK (which was rated a B)
The projected starting lineup is as follows
FW Hiramoto Hulk
MF Marcus Ono
Nanami Ze Luis
DF Hattori Tsuchiya Togawa Kaimoto
My choice is Hiroyama in the starting lineup, especially if Marcus goes. Without Marcus it doesn't look as attractive. It might be worth considering putting Kanazawa in Ze Luis position and having the big man up top with Hiroyama or Marcus as an attacking mid. But hey, the offense and defense look much better than last season.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
But not so fast...........
Kazunori Iio comes back to Verdy
My least favorite Verdy player had his loan to Avispa expire. Rumor has it that he will be joining up with Tsunami at Cerezo Osaka to fill the void left by Okubo. Pink Verdy south!!!!!!!!
Speaking of players that I don't like to think about
Kenichi Uemura is moving to Rosso Kumamoto from Yokohama Sports and Culture Club (Is their mascot the KarmaChamelion? BOY GEORGE IS AWESOME!!!!!!)
And a shocker........http://ameblo.jp/revoverdy/entry-10022264254.html
Revoverdy is reporting that Marcus is being pursued by Yokohama F Marinos. Currently Marinos have been going through the process of total demolition and they have money to spend, so it is possible that this is going down. While I wouldn't want Marcus to leave, it would not be the worst thing in the world. The midfield is arguably the deepest and strongest unit on the squad.
It might not be a bad idea to bring in a big defender if Marcus leaves. One who played up north for 6 years, gave his heart and soul to a team only to be cast aside, is familiar with one of the new guys on the squad.............yeah,I got a guy in mind.
Monday, January 15, 2007
In a bit of a surprise acquisition, Tsuyoshi Yoshitake was announced as the newest member of Tokyo Verdy 1969. Yoshitake was a decent contributor to Yokohama FC, appearing in the midfield 26 times for the phoenix. Yoshitake is small and young, coming in at 25 years of age and 174cm/66 kilos
The 6 year veteran had his biggest run in 2002, appearing in 41 games and notching 2 goals. The additions of Jun Tamano and Shingo Nejime made Yoshitake expendable. No mention of a rental so it looks he is straightaway Verdy.
THE BIGGEST VERDY PLAYER.......EVER!!!!!!
I wrote a story yesterday on Yuzo Funakoshi being pursued by the club. Well, it's official
So I'm thinking BIG BIRD would be a good moniker for the fella. Cause Verdys moniker is
a bird and he's really big.......too lame? Ehh, maybe we should have a contest.
My new favorite Verdy player!
RAMOS REUNITING WITH KAZU TO SCORE AGAIN?
Don't worry, he's not activating himself and resigning Kazu for next season. Next week, he plays on a team of past and present stars from around Japan to take on a team of Shimizu stars in Nihondaira next week. Also appearing in the game will be Toshihiro Hattori and Hiroshi Nanami as well as recently retired former Verdy man Teruo Iwamoto. I'll look to see if there are more players with Verdy connections involved in the game.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Leave it on the field, big fella!
Cerezo Deconstruction in full swing
I feel so bad for Satoshi Tsunami. the guy can't win. It looks like Okubo will head to Kobe and Nishizawa is contemplating a move to Shimizu. There's also talk of MF Tomi Shimomura moving into the now vacant spot left by Yuki Abe. I saw this movie last year with Tokyo Verdy and the ending was hopeful yet unsatisfying. The one good thing for Cerezo is that they have a fairly decent youth movement going on ala Kashiwa and have a little something left in the tank.
David Beckham..........200 Million Dollar man?
The big news in World Football was the signing of David Beckham to my hometown LA Galaxy. The 200 million dollar figure being thrown around is not going to be his salary from the club or the league......it's an aggregate of his salary plus sponsorship deals, likeness rights, cuts of merchandise sales, etc.....it's not a fixed amount. What his salary will be is rumored to be between 6 to 10 million dollars, almost 6 times the amount paid to US star Landon Donovan.
It's a big risk, but a big potential reward.
There was speculation that Beckham was perusing a move over here to the J Leagues. While it was fun to speculate, I don't think it would have been a great fit.
Beckham would have needed to appear with a big money/big fan potential team (goodbye Omiya, Consadole, Ehime, Tokushima, Fukuoka, Kyoto, JEF, Mito, Kashima, Shimizu, Jubilo, Shonan, Sagan, Kawasaki, Yokohama the FC, Vegalta, Thespa, Montedio, and Venforet) Albirex goes in this category because of the trouble they have getting big time sponsorship. The fan base is second to none (except Urawa, but I'd venture to say that 40000 going to see a squad come in 13th is more solid than the 47000 going to see a first place team.)
He would probably need to be in a market close to Tokyo. I'm speculating but the media man would seem to prefer being in a media capital.
Oita, the Osakas, Kobe, and Sanfrecce would have to be ruled out although it would be fun to see how reacted to being on the same team as Toda. Kobe has the guy who would singlehandedly spend the money, but Kobe doesn't seem to be a place Mrs. spice would be comfortable with.
Urawa would be the obvious choice, an expense account at 58 million US, the biggest support in Japan, a European coach, European connections, a huge Manchester fetish, and a hype machine that is rivaled by only King Kazu. Here's the thing.......they don't need him. The money is coming in already, the sellouts are happening, and their strongest position is Midfield. The Urawa roadshow would increase road turnout and merchandise sales, but so will success in the ACL, and for a far cheaper price tag.
Kashiwa has money from Hitachi but I don't think they are ready for that kind of expenditure after being a year removed from J2. JEF has been a seller, not a buyer.
Tokyo Verdy is in J2. It would have been a huge boom for them if they signed the media mega star but somehow I think it would have toppled the franchise. I know that CyberAgent is shelling out some good cash as it is for the pickups already. 10 million seems like a stretch for the internet provider and NTV sure as hell isn't gonna shell it out. Also did I mention that Verdy is in J2? That would be a HUGE flag of surrender for Becks Inc to put up if he took a bid to play in a second division squad in a non prestigious football country.
The final three would be FC Tokyo, Yokohama F Marinos, and Nagoya Grampus 8
Yokohama F Marinos is a puzzling case, good support, big bucks from Nissan and a history of success. But, they have been a seller in the market and they hired the coach who killed Kashiwa two seasons ago. I don't think they have their act together, and I don't think they have the financial creativity to come up with a competitive offer.
FC Tokyo would be intriguing with the addition of Wanchope. FC Tokyo has been in bidding for a ton of big names in Japan and a move like this would catapult them into the position of main rival to Urawa. A 4-4-2 system wouldn't kill him and he would be the face of the franchise. It seems the gasmen could come up with the money for salary but where is the other sponsor money? Also, this team is known for underacheiving and will the new coach have the same problems as before when he was the old coach?
Finally, there is the case of Nagoya.......Toyota has a ton of money, they like to spend, and they have a European coach with euro players in place. It's a market that is waiting to explode, always approaching respectability but always being disappointed by the play on the field. Would the ghost of Gary Lineker come back to haunt this team if they had acquired Beckham?
Some other problems that worked against a place like Japan is the schedule, which includes play during the dog days of July and August. Some of the worst humidity possible is in play. The language barrier was something that was rumored to affect Mrs. Becks, so jumping into a culture with a writing system that is waaaaaay different from English probably wouldn't fly with the Posh one. I also don't think Beckham won any fans with his antics during the Real trip two seasons ago.
For the money that Beckham is about to receive, I don't think there's a good fit here for him.....not as good as Los Angeles, where he already has a youth academy going, a lifestyle that becomes him, and a chance to grow a market for his one big asset...........himself.
I'm not a fan of Beckham by any stretch of the imagination but the hyperbole that has been going on in dismissing his talents have bordered on the absurd. He didn't get Captaincy of one of the biggest football nations in the world on reputation alone and he still is capable of starting for over half the clubs in the 4 major leagues in Europe.
I'm rooting for him to make it happen in the US and that's a first but I'm glad that no one took a bite of the apple here. I'm most glad that Verdy didn't do it because I like the 1969 seats and I'm cheap!
It's also been announced that the team is starting up training again with camp starting on the 29th. It looks like Miyazaki is the destination this year.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Today, the team extended the deal an extra year.
I have to say, the team is shaping up to be one of the early favorites going into 2007.
The opening lineup last year (Current players in BOLD)
DF Fujita Yanagisawa Togawa Hagimura
MF Ono Kanazawa Nagai Ohashi
FW Hiramoto Basilio
Bench Takagi Sugawara Uemura Anailson Iio
And the possible one this year
GK Takagi or Yoshihara
DF Kaimoto Togawa Tsuchiya Fujita (Nanami if he signs soon)
MF Marcus Hattori Ze Luis Hiroyama
FW Hiramoto Hulk
Bench-GK, Sato, Kanazawa, Hagimura, Tomisawa, Saito, Sugawara, Ono
We all know I'm garbage at predictions but I think 4 minor players will be picked up over the next couple of days as well as Nanami. Yuzo Fukanoshi, a backup for Albirex Niigata has been bandied about the blogosphere as being a possible depth signing. Maybe a young 4th keeper and a couple of guys to shore up the defense and midfield and I think the team is complete.
Quite an incredible offseason so far!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Sports Hochi has the story, saying that ET (EXOTIC TERMINATER) is only a week away from finalizing his deal with Adelaide United. It seems that Yamada had offers from other J League squads but wanted the challenge of participating in the ACL and Kawasaki and Urawa sure weren't going to sign him.
It seemed the deal was dead with the impending signing of Miami FC (USL 1) attacking mid Diego Walsh but now it seems they are tagging the captain for next seasons campaign.
Also mentioned in the article was Yamada's desire to play overseas and his near signing with MLS.
I'm not sure if this is new news or if somebody at Hochi read blogs from 2 weeks ago and got around to filing this. I will troll the Australia boards and see what I can dig up!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
Yoshihara appeared in 10 games for the club, allowing 19 goals in ten contests. the team also made it official that Masahiro Ohashi is joining Kawasaki Frontale on a 1 year loan deal.
Consadole names its coach
Former Omiya Ardija head man Toshiya Miura has officially taken the reigns of Consadole Sapporo. Miura had trouble getting Omiya past mid-lower table status in his 2 years of J1 but has a formidable track record in J2, posting a 75 win 16 tie 37 loss record in about 3 seasons of work. Miura is known for being a defensive strategist who loves the 1-0 win much more than a 5-4 slugfest.
I went out to Yomiuriland to renew my supporter card. While the team shop was shut down until the 9th, somebody from the school helped me get renewed. Very good customer service today, unlike at the games sometimes and I was very happy. If you get a chance to go to Yomiuriland, make sure you go into the lobby of the soccer school. In it you will find the trophies of Yomiuri club/Verdy over the years, including a horn shaped thing signifying the teams J League conquests, the old JSL championship trophy and golden balls signifying the Emperors Cup. I also got a look at the brand new conquests of NTV Beleza. The trophy case is very understated, It looked like an afterthought.
Anyhow, if you have the supporters card, January 28th is supporters day where they take the picture for the Yearbook and you get to mingle with the players. I am going to try and get out there.
Ahhh.......sweet news, I missed you!
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Just Kidding! The title was Moron fans lose team for a year and I thought about inserting YET ANOTHER REDS joke but decided against it. Some team in Argentina called DEPORTIVO MORON lost promotion in the last game and the fans attacked their players.
I mention Vegalta because they seem to be the group most likely to attack their own......don't believe me? Ask Satoshi Tsunami or READ THIS
Then there was this guy
Now, that being said, I don't think what Vegalta has done comes even close to the worst things that happen around the globe....I mean French dudes would laugh at this. And I don't think anybody ever will get to the point where they do grevious harm to a player or another fan. I'm just saying DON'T BE A MORON
Damn, it's been a Slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwww news week!
Ehime gets a player
Gamba Osaka is sending 21 year old striker Ryota Miki to Ehime. Miki has appeared in 3 games for Gamba in 2005. He notched one goal in an emperors cup match.
The potentially bad news is that the loan deal for Kyoto Sanga forward Teruake Kurobe has been cancelled, meaning that the former Urawa Red will be facing Verdy 4 times next year as well as numerous others. In fact, Kyoto has done a great job of keeping the core intact that ran wild over J2 competition just 2 years ago.
If you haven't already heard, Urawa defended their Emperor's cup, becoming the first team in the J League era to defend their title. The defense was not a thing of beauty and there were numerous "discrepancies" that might have the more cynical fan claiming the title is tainted (3 home games, two creampuff opponents at the start, including a squad that just lost their position in J1, PK's set in the home goal instead of the neutral goal, a stop overturned by a referee with less than stellar credentials, a Gamba side that couldn't hit the side of a barn in the final......OK call me cynical!!!!)
There were some guys that shone through for the REDS who (to be fair) won it with a B squad.
Here are my three stars
Shinji Ono- Not so much in the final, but the rounds previous he really was the catalyst for victories over Jubilo and Kashima. 3 timely goals helped wake the squad up when they were dead. A healthy Ono is not only good for Urawa, he's good for Japan as well, especially now that they are struggling to find an identity
Takahito Soma- The pressure was on the former Verdy man to fill in for the departed Alex and he did relaively well, good hustle and pace found him involved alot, if he keeps it up Urawa won't miss Alex at all and he might get some notice for the National squad
Ryota Tsuzuki- With the dearth of talent at the keeper position in J1, it would be beyond criminal if Tsuzuki found himself on the bench for a second season. The man singlehandedly kept Urawa in the game until that less than inspiring goal finally rolled in. Tsuzuki, Soma, and Ono all handled their stints on the pine with class and it's good to see these three get a little credit for not only being talents but good characters as well.
Speaking of Urawa.......their budget hit 7,000,000,000 yen this year (almost 30 million pounds or 58 million dollars US) making them the first superclub in Japan. With the media churning out weekly stories on them and a fan base that dwarfs the rest of J1, it looks like there is no stopping the Red Menace.....if they win the ACL, it's over.....they claim the title as Japan's team.
With the new signings, Verdy finds itself at 28 players.......if we leave out the new amateur signings for a moment, the starting lineup looks like this maybe
If Nanami happens......and it should, by my estimation the team needs 2 strikers and another keeper and the team is solid. Much better position than last year