Tag Archives: injury

Aishiteru Tokyo and On the Gas present Gas Talk Episode 2!

Met up with Ben yesterday evening at our usual izakaya to record the second episode of Gas Talk! Despite Graham's absence and unusually loud music over the house PA system, we managed to bring you another (hopefully) enjoyable episode of commentary. Here's a rundown of what you'll hear:

Part 1: a review of the team's preseason activities including reactions from Sunday's PSM at Thespa Kusatsu. Also an injury report roundup.

Part 2: this one's mostly me because Ben was admittedly unfamiliar with it, but I talk about Yuto Nagatomo's full transfer for 160 million yen and what it means for FC Tokyo and Japanese soccer as a whole. We also talk a bit about Jade North, the Australian NT player who's been participating in team practice since last week.

Part 3: a preview of this Saturday's match against Sagan Tosu. Highly suggested that you check our respective blogs on Thursday/Friday for the latest updates and a more accurate picture of what the starting eleven will be.

Apparently there are a couple technical issues w/ the audio but hopefully they won't get in the way of your listening experience. I've also been told that you can now subscribe to Gas Talk through the iTunes store, even though the podcast details are a little wonky (apparently Ben wants all the credit 😉 And we aren't doing the podcast in Japanese, at least not yet!).

Stay tuned for our next episode after the Tosu game!


The 2011 Preseason: 8 Things We’ve Learned

With less than a week to go until the March 5th kickoff at Ajinomoto stadium, let’s review what we’ve learned in the offseason.


1. Injuries Still Happen

Gonda’s pinkie separation will have him out for at least 3 weeks, while several other teammates (including Ishikawa, Nakamura, Pedro Junior, Kajiyama, and others) have been suffering from the niggling types of injuries that, while they might not show up in an official injury report, can keep them mysteriously out of practice or even worse the gameday lineup. Ishikawa is still struggling and hasn’t played in any training matches yet, but hopefully his fitness will return for the regular season. With the size and depth of Tokyo’s roster, we’d all like to hope that an injury or three won’t hurt the squad too much in terms of firepower… then again we need some firepower to begin with (see below).

2. The Boys of Summer

Although Tokyo didn’t call up any U-18 members to the top squad, look for a couple of the “new generation” to start making waves. Takumi Abe has gained favor with Hiyoshi Okuma and is an inside favorite to start at left back on Saturday, while Otake will probably get in more playing time as well. Hideto Takahashi could also get into the mix when Konno is off wearing the blue kit.

3. The Boys of Subbing

Just as important as our starting 11 are our reserves; unless we learn how to score early and often (see below) Tokyo may again need to mount late-stage offensive (or comebacks, as the case often was last year). Tatsuya Suzuki is, for better or for worse, always in the mix, but Tatsuya Yazawa and Uesato are also strong contenders to make regular appearances. Takamatsu I’m hesitant to pass judgment on because it appears as though even Okuma isn’t 100% sure who his starting forwards will be.

4. The Boys of Samba

For the first time in several years, FC Tokyo could have three Brazilians on the field. Cesar has impressed in the preseason with several goals and assists and has generally performed like the player we all hoped Ricardinho would be last year… I would even put him up there as a candidate for our top scorer. Roberto has been solid at volante and could earn a regular starting spot between Kajiyama’s repeated injuries and Yonemoto’s form trouble. Pedro Junior hasn’t turned quite as many heads this offseason but he should still do better than Matsushita.

5. We Got 99 Problems and Offensive Production Might Be 1

While the defense has more or less performed solidly, the same patterns that plagued Tokyo on offense – namely, an inability to score early – have once again emerged. Players are performing well individually, but the winning combination has yet to be unlocked. As an example, although the 6-2 win against Shimizu S-Pulse may sound impressive, in reality Tokyo was losing 1-2 until Shimizu put their reserves in.  One may ask what it all means, and the answer is that it’s the preseason, so precisely in that realm between jack and shit… for now. Looking at our opponents (Tosu, Gifu, Toyama, Tochigi), if our goal difference isn’t +6-7 or better by the end of March I would perhaps consider ringing that particular alarm bell.

6. Toto, I Don’t Think We’re In J1 Anymore

Yesterday’s PSM against Thespa Kusatsu at Soy Sauce Stadium came with an extra dose of MSG-induced heartburn for our traveling supporters. An out-of-the-way stadium with 10,000 seats and a track, relatively few supporters, poor pitch condition, mediocre officiating… in many ways, this was as accurate a simulation of J2 as one could have imagined. No more pristine pitches or packed stands for a while… at least maybe until the Tokyo Derby.

7. Our Front Office Is Smarter Than Your Front Office…

With last week’s announcement that Yuto Nagatomo has officially been sold to Cesena (who are on track to sell him to Inter, although apparently he’s having a bit of a struggle in dealing with their asshole supporters and players in his current loan spell), FC Tokyo managed to pull off what no team in J.League has in the last couple years: get a decent chunk of money for an international transfer. While Kagawa got shipped off to Dortmund for a bag of magic beans and a song, and Okazaki’s controversy-plagued transfer to Stuttgart was more or less free, Cesena has paid Tokyo roughly 200 million yen (nearly $2.5 million, or 1.8 million euros, or 3.4 billion Lira. Thanks Google!) for the star left back. Now, Cesena’s going to make a whole lot more if and when they eventually sell Nagatomo to a bigger club so it’s not a total victory, but it’s still a lot better than anyone else did.

8. …Except When They’re Not

While there were reports that Nagatomo’s transfer money would be used to renovate the team’s locker room and training facilities, there’s word that one more player acquisition could be on the horizon as Australian back Jade North has been participating in team practices since the other day. With the max number of A-contracts already signed to the team one wonders how Mr. North, described by some sources as solid but unimpressive, could be shoehorned onto the team… notwithstanding the fact that his signing isn’t really necessary to begin with. Memo to the front office: Just because the money’s blowing a hole in your pocket doesn’t mean you have to spend it all immediately. Perhaps you could put it in a savings account with that new bank sponsor you got, invest in some band-aids for Kajiyama’s vagina.

Speaking of money, the new SOCIO cards come with built-in EDY electronic payment chips, and according to the explanations the team actually gets some cash back every time you use them to make a purchase. I wonder how much money the team could save by paying their players w/ EDY…


Anyway, stay tuned for more as we ramp up coverage for the soon-to-start J2 season! I’m joining Ben and Graham from On The Gas to record the second episode of Gas Talk this evening, and hopefully it’ll be up tomorrow. お楽しみに!

Yonemoto injures left knee in practice, could be lost for season

This is certainly not the news Tokyo fans were expecting to hear…

After a hard collision in front of a goal during an intra-team practice game, midfielder Takuji Yonemoto had to be carried off the field by trainers. He was examined today and based on the report on FC Tokyo's website, his injuries very much mirror those that Ishikawa sustained last season (namely, a partial ACL tear on his left knee and meniscus damage).

The difference, however, is that that the two character that form the word “partial” were not present in the team's announcement for Yonemoto's test result, leading us to believe that the dreaded “2nd Year Jinx” has hit last year's Nabisco Cup MVP in the worst of ways.

At worst, this could mean that Yonemoto will have to sit out the 2010 season, which would be a devastating blow to the team and to the young star. While Kajiyama has finally rejoined the team in his practice regimen, he still may not yet be battle-ready and thus Tokyo may be without the pillars of its formation for the beginning of the season.

Formation-wise it's now pretty likely that Matsushita will start, and depending on how ready Kim is, Jofuku could choose to start him at CB and move Konno back to his old position of volante. Hiramatsu could play a factor too… the next week will be a tough one for Jofuku, but despite the severity of the potential loss I still don't think it's as bad as last year's GK situation.

There will be many cranes folded tonight in the capital city. More to come when I have it.


Crisis in Tokyo: 4 starters missing on Sunday

Tomorrow's match against Yokohama FM will be crucial for FC Tokyo as it begins the next phase of the Summer Counterattack.  Currently 4 points out of an ACL spot and 15 from the top, Tokyo needs to buckle down and put together another long chain of victories after its recent stumbles.

Unfortunately, tomorrow's game will see a drastically altered lineup due to a variety of circumstances:

Yuto Nagatomo underwent an appendectomy on August 3rd; although he's recovering and participating in team practices he does not yet feel ready to start and the team is probably looking to have him return in time for Kashima next Sunday.

Yohei Kajiyama recived his 4th yellow card of the season in the Kawasaki match and will sit Sunday out.

Naohiro Ishikawa, in what is certainly the most upsetting news for the team injured his calf during practice earlier in the week and will sit the game out.

Bruno Quadros flew back from Brazil on Friday, having returned there last week to be with his wife while she underwent surgery.  As a result of jet lag and not having practiced this week he will likely not be a part of the lineup.

How will Jofuku manage with this temporarily dire situation?  His lineup will surely be a test of Tokyo's roster depth, and fortunately it appears that there are plenty of players to fill the various gaps.

On defense, Nagatomo's role could be filled by Kenta Mukuhara, while Bruno's position could be taken by Teriyuki Moniwa or Hideki Sahara, neither of whom have not played in several months.

The second line is somewhat more strained; El Golazo predicts that Ishikawa's position will be covered by Soutan Tanabe, while Kajiyama will be relieved by veteran Jo Kanazawa.  Yet Jofuku has two more trump cards in the form of Yohei Otake and Hokuto Nakamura, both of whom have returned from injury and are regular participants in team practices.


Kajiyama out 1-2 weeks, “Fan service” at Kodaira Ground due to flu fears

To start off today’s news post (because the Chiba-FCT game is on some obscure satellite channel and I can’t watch it), Kajiyama’s out for 1-2 weeks after taking a knock to the shin.  It appears that wunderkind Soutan Tanabe is taking his place in the lineup tonight.  That should be interesting.

Now, for the scarier bit: as the H1N1 flu strain spread across Japan (as of this writing 230-something cases in three prefectures, plus the four travellers stopped at Narita Airport), professional sports teams are struggling to protect fans while not giving up the unique homefield advantage that Japanese cheering squads offer.

FC Tokyo has, for its part, announced that fan service at Kodaira Ground is suspended for the forseeable future as of today (May 20th).  In the past, players stop by the “fan area” following practice to take photos, sign autographs, and shake hands from the loyal supporters who come to watch.  Fans will still be allowed to attend open practices, however players will go straight to the locker room instead of passing by the fan area.

FC Tokyo is far from the only soccer team to take measures to prevent flu transmission.  Before last Saturday’s match, the mayor of Yokohama appeared to promote a triathalon of some sort as well as to encourage people to wear masks and wash their hands and not flood hospitals with phone calls.  J2 squad Roasso Kumamoto is suspending pre-game fan events (including autograph sessions).  Also while these are Kyoto fans the pic is too lulzy to pass up on:

On the baseball side of things, the Hanshin Tigers have stopped selling “jet balloons” (long, thin balloons traditionally launched en masse during the 7th inning stretch) and discouraged fans from releasing them at games.  Similar steps have been taken by the Orix Buffaloes, Yakult Swallows, and Softbank Hawks.

Injury Report: Cabore injures left knee, Out 1-2 weeks

FCT has announced that starting FW Cabore has injured a ligament in his left knee, and will be out for one to two weeks. He has already missed the last two matches of the Golden Week Sprint dealing with the injury. Hopefully, he will return in time for the last league match before the mid-season break, but he may rest the knee until the break and the Nabisco Cup matches played during the break.

Injury Update: Shiota out of the hospital, beginning rehab

FCT has announced that last year’s starting GK Hitoshi Shiota finally left the hospital yesterday, after being hospitalized since Feb. 5, first for an emergency appendectomy, then for post-surgical complications related to that incident. He’s scheduled to begin rehabilitation today, but no timeframe for his return to practice or the lineup has been determined yet. He thanked the fans, his fellow players and the team staff for their encouragement during his stay in the hospital, and stated that he hopes to return to the pitch soon.

Ishikawa returns to practice, could be in Urawa lineup

Nao Ishikawa returns to practice

Chuunichi Sports reported in today’s issue that MF Naohiro Ishikawa, who missed the first game of the season w/ inflammation in his left knee, has jumped back into full practice and could make it into the lineup against Urawa Reds this Saturday.  Nao took passes at top speed, shook off defenders, and scored a goal off his right foot in an unsual 9-on-9 practice game, and was repeatedly praised by manager Hiroshi Jofuku for his efforts.  Jofuku is quoted as saying “Nao’s return is the medicine that the team needs.  As soon as he can play at 100% for 90 minutes, our options at midfield look a lot better.”

This is, it goes without saying, a very good thing for the team.  Nao’s presence was missed on Saturday and against Urawa the team will need all the weapons it can get a hold of.  Obviously putting him back on the field before he’s at full strength is a risk that Jofuku doesn’t – and shouldn’t – want to take, but if Nao feels up to the task then he would certainly be a welcome addition to the starting eleven.

Injury Report: Hokuto Nakamura out 2-3 weeks with knee injury

FCT reported today that MF Hokuto Nakamura, one of this season’s biggest new acquisitions, suffered a injury to the cartilage in his left knee in Wednesday’s practice match against Chuo University. He’s expected to be out of the lineup for two to three weeks, so he should be back on the field in mid-March, about the time of the first Nabisco Cup matches.

BREAKING: Hitoshi Shiota now gone until mid-March

It’s been a bad month for FCT’s starting GK Hitoshi Shiota. After a poor showing during the Guam training camp, he returned to Japan suffering heatstroke, then underwent an emergency appendectomy. And now a postoperative intestinal blockage has him out until at least the middle of March, meaning the first several matches of the season, assuming he’s in playing shape when he leaves the hospital.

It’s now up to one of the other three keepers on the roster (Shuichi Gonda, Nobuyuki Abe, or Ryotaro Hironaga) to man the sticks and keep FCT’s hopes alive. All three are products of FCT’s U-18 team, but Gonda has been getting the nod in most of the preseason friendlies, so expect to see him open the season wearing the gloves. If he struggles, though, he could find himself riding pine in favor of the other preseason choice, Abe. Hironaga hasn’t seen much field time in the preseason, so he’ll probably be the desperation choice of last resort only if the two ahead of him crash and burn.

CORRECTION: Due to my (Lantis) poor kanji reading, this was originally posted as having Shiota being out for three months, rather than until mid-March. I apologize for the mistake.