First, what we’ve all been waiting for, the schedule!
2011/3/5 – vs Sagan Tosu (Ajinomoto Stadium)
2011/3/12 – at Fagiano Okaya,a (kanko Stadium)
2011/3/19 – at Gifu (Gifu Memorial Center Stadium)
2011/3/27 – vs Tochigi SC (Ajinomoto)
2011/4/03 – vs Giravantz Kitakyuushuu (Ajinomoto)
2011/4/09 – at Yokohama FC (Mitzusawa)
2011/4/17 – vs Oita Trinita (Ajinomoto)
2011/4/24 – at JEF Chiba Ichihara United (Fukuda Denshi Arena)
2011/4/30 – vs Consadole Sapporo (Ajinomoto)
2011/5/4 – at Verdy (Ajinomoto – AWAY)
2011/5/8 – vs Kataller Toyama (Ajinomoto)
2011/5/14 – at Thespa Kusatsu (Shikishima)
2011/5/22 – vs Shonan Bellmare (Ajinomoto)
2011/5/28 – at Kyoto Sanga (Nishigoku)
2011/6/5 – vs Ehime FC (Komazawa Stadium)
2011/6/12 – at Roasso Kumamoto (KKWING)
2011/6/19 – vs Tokushima Vortis (Ajinomoto)
2011/6/25 – at Mito Hollyhock (K’s Denshi)
2011/7/2 – vs Gainare Tottori (Ajinomoto)
2011/7/9 – at Oita Trinita (Oita Bank Dome)
2011/7/17 – vs FC Gifu (Ajinomoto)
2011/7/24 – vs Roasso Kumamoto (Kokuritsu)
2011/7/30 – at Giravantz Kitakyuushuu (Kitakyuushuu)
2011/8/13 – vs Thespa Kusatsu (Ajinomoto Stadium)
2011/8/21 – at Tochigi SC (Tochigi Green Stadium)
2011/8/28 – at Kataller Toyama (Toyama Prefectural Stadium)
2011/9/10 – vs Kyoto Sanga (Ajinomoto)
2011/9/17 – at Ehime FC (Ninjineer)
2011/9/25 – vs Yokohama FC (Kokuritsu)
2011/10/2 – at Tokushima Vortis (Pocari Sweat Stadium)
2011/10/16 – vs Fagiano Okayama (Ajinomoto)
2011/10/23 – at Sagan Tosu (Best Amenity Stadium)
2011/10/30 – vs Verdy (Ajinomoto Stadium) [note: depending on AFC Champion's League could be moved to 10/29]
2011/11/6 – at Shonan Bellmare (Hiratsuka)
2011/11/12 – vs Mito Hollyhock (Ajinomoto)
2011/11/19 – at Gainare Tottori (Bird Stadium)
2011/11/26 – vs JEF Chiba (Ajinomoto)
2011/12/3 – at Consadole Sapporo (Sapporo Dome)
-That’s a lotta games. 19 will be on Sundays, 18 on Saturdays, and the first Tokyo Derbyw will be on a Wednesday (a national holiday – みどりの日. How droll.)
-Fuck you, J.League, for putting almost *all* of the away trips I was looking forward to at the VERY END OF THE SEASON. Tottiri in late November? Sapporo to end the year? And Tosu is even on Sunday! Goddammitsomuch. But at least we get Mitsuzawa for Yokohama FC, and Tochigi will make a great summer trip.
-As long as Tokyo’s away support stays up in the Kanto region, there should be a period of absolute dominance by Tokyo supporters between late March and late May. 10 matches in a row (including Kusatsu which is admittedly a bit of a hike even compared to Chiba or Shonan) that Tokyo supporters can reach easily by train.
-The J.League scheduling gods are known for stacking end-of-season matches that amplify title chases. Are these last two matches a sign from above that Chiba and Sapporo are fellow contenders for promotion?
-For Tokyo to secure promotion at the second Tokyo Derby, they would have to be at least 18 points clear of 4th place after the day’s matches were complete. This is far from impossible; last season Kashiwa Reysol ended Round 32 18 points up on 4th-place Chiba, who had 6 games remaining compared to Kashiwa’s 5.
In other news, the team held their opening press conference the other day and revealed a new slogan that is full of fail, so much so that I’m not going to bother discussing it. The team also announced yesterday that due to the volcanic happenings in Miyazaki prefecture, February’s training camp is being relocated to Kumamoto.