As the season winds down to a close, we have stuff to look forward to (or not?) next season…
First, last week’s game against Vissel Kobe. We won, 1-0. Hiramatsu scored a fantastic header off of a Suzuki free kick in the 87th minute. If that was all you saw of the game, congrats: you saw the relevant bit.
Due to several fortunate results, Tokyo is now in sole possession of 5th place heading into the last game of the season vs. Albirex Niigata. A win, plus a Hiroshima draw or loss, would put Tokyo in 4th place. Not only would there be a decent bump to the end-of-season prize we would get from being in the top 8 (5th place receives 40 million yen while 4th gets 60 mil.), but we would have a Chance In Hell of going to the ACL next season.
I’m going to repeat that. Despite everything the team has been through we could still conceivably play in Asia. IF we get 4th place, and IF Kashima, Kawasaki, or Osaka wins the Emperor’s Cup. So, to start with, go Kyoto!
The Kobe match was also a day for farewells of various sorts. For starters, it was the final home game of “The Last Legends of Tokyo Gas” – Satoru Asari (7) and Ryuji Fujiyama (8). With a combined 31 years of service for FC Tokyo and Tokyo Gas, the two players were often immortalized in gateflags simply as 社員. They were celebrated in a pre-game tifo:
Following the game the two players made tearful speeches to the home supporters. While Asari is officially retiring and may continue on with the team as a coach, Fujiyama had previously expressed his desire to continue playing “until my body falls apart” and, in a stunning announcement in front of the home crowd, announced that he will be playing for J2 side Consadole Sapporo next season.
After the speeches, the two players made their way around the pitch:
Unfortunately, it appears that the game was also the last stand at Ajinomoto for Bruno Quadros, who will not be resigning with the squad. I’m also seeing rumors that Hideki Sahara will be returning to Kawasaki Frontale.
In even less attractive news, I give you our 2010 uniforms:
The home kits are ugly as sin and I refuse to purchase one… what were they thinking with the ‘bib’ design? To be completely honest the photo of Nagatomo makes it look worse than it actually does due to the immense number of flashes going off at once. That said it’s still a mediocre design and adidas should be ashamed.
I could grow to like the away kit, though.
In other bulletpoint-worthy news…
-We’re after a bunch of players, and none of it’s worth reporting on until we actually sign someone.
-The team has withdrawn from its annual Guam Camp due to the costs involved (roughly $1 million) and will instead train in Miyazaki Prefecture this winter.
-World Cup draws announced! Japan in the pot with Holland, Denmark, and Cameroon. I say we have a fair shot.
Now, to get another hour or so of sleep before I go to El Loco for the match…