Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Patricks Day Smackdown- Verdy versus Vegalta

Well, St.Patricks Day is coming and signs point to Verdy for another victory. First is the obvious all green kit that team Tokyo sports. Second is the CyberAgent amoeba which looks strikingly similar to a clover......the symbol of Eire. The third link happens to be a certain young defender by the name of Killoran, Born in the Emerald Isle. In terms of Celtic Karma, it's in the bag for Verdy, so I can stop this column right now.........Erin Go Bragh!!!!!!

Well, let's PRETEND that this will actually be decided on the field. Verdy has a couple of things to worry about when it comes to the other Bird of Prey in J2. Sendai is making it's first appearance in front of the home crowd after a wildly successful 2 game road trip which saw a maximum 6 points go to Vegalta. After a somewhat fortuitous opening win in Shonan on an own goal and a score from forward Yuki Nakashima, Vegalta stamped out Cerezo 2-0.

Unlike last years high flying scoring machine, Sendai has relied on defense to get them through. Everything starts on defense with GK Junnsuke Schneider, who is competing with Yoshiyuki Takagi as frontrunner for best goalkeeper in J2. Offensively, Sendai relies on a midfield duo of Ryan Yong Gi and Lopes.

Projected Sendai Lineup

FW Nakashima----Bandai

MF Lopes--Jonilson--Chiba--Ryan Yong Gi

DF Tanoue-Shirai--Kitani--Sugai

GK Schneider

Keys to the contest

1. Hulk and the Donkey vs Shirai and Kitani- Even though Vegalta has only allowed 1 goal in 2 games, they have allowed 22 shots in the game. So it's possible to get some looks against this squad. It is imperative that Hulk and Funakoshi get some chances against an older and slightly smaller central defense.

2. Crack Junnsuke- The guy has been on fire, and even recovered nicely after an early goal to Adiel in their opener. Schneider is a good keeper but he can be cracked. Constant pressure is the key.

3. Help from the wings- Diego and Ono have to show up for this game, it's a must that they play the Yong-Gi/Lopes combo even at the least. I think Lopes is the catalyst of the two, so shutting him down is a must. On the other side, Diego and Ono have to help with the counter-attacks and put pressure on Vegalta. In Basketball lingo it's called keeping em honest!

4. Keep the sheets clean- That's a good rule for anyone to abide by (ever stay in a less than reputable hotel?), but especially defenses. the late breakdown in Ehime was a bit of a disappointment but not a killer. Just don't make it a habit.

On a personal note......I liked a girl from Sendai but she gave me the brushoff, so this is one I want. Kill em all!

Takuya Yamada Coast to Coast

It looks like the Exotic Terminater World tour has found its way to Soilent Green's motherland, Sunny Carson, California. Yamada appeared in the 60th minute for CD Chivas USA of the MLS against Red Bull New York in a battle of the foreign owned and branded soccer clubs in America (or something like that). No real details on how he did but the team got the lead 9 minutes after he entered the game, only to allow the equalizer a few moments later to come away with a 2-2 tie.

Chivas USA's big brother, Chivas Guadalajara tied MLS squad DC United in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions Cup semi-final. If they happen to win, they play in the World Club Championships guessed it.......Japan. So IF Yamada is signed by Chivas USA, AND Chivas Guadalajara qualify for the WCC, don't be surprised if ET ends up playing for the Mexican side in December.

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