I'll post a report after I've caught up on sleep, but to sum things up, FC Tokyo played an error-prone first half but managed to find a solid offensive groove once rookie GK starter Ogi calmed down after giving up a goal on a bad play and freezing on a free kick by Hulk. Fortunately for the Gasmen, Verdy was playing just as poorly, but to their credit for the first time since April they managed to make it an interesting match.
On FCT's scorecard, Cabore scored first to equalize at 1-1 and from then on it was the Hirayama Show, with #13 equalizing at 2-2 at the end of the first half, then punching in two more goals for a hat trick that would propel FC Tokyo into the next round of the Nabisco Cup, where they will play Oita Trinita.
Because I’m not going to get my photos up tonight as much as I’d like to, I’d like to illustrate how the game went:
Imagine, if you will, that Edward Norton is wearing a blue + red kit instead of a pair of boxers and a swastika. Then further imagine that the black kid about to be handed a startlingly expensive bill for dental restoration work represents Verdy. Got that in your head? Okay, then you have some idea of how today’s match went.
Though the weather in Tokyo was miserable throughout most of yesterday, the rain finally cleared around 11AM this morning – it was cloudy throughout the day but over 19,000 people were in the stands – precious few of them Verdy fans. Guys, I know you’re already eliminated from the quarterfinals, but seriously, it’s a Derby match, have some goddamned pride in your team.
In any case, security was more or less the same today as it was before Urawa and Gamba had their little catfight, so at least that’s not changed yet. Although I should note that a guy two rows in front of me holding a gateflag that showed a masked FCT fan strangling the Verdy mascot was asked to put his flag down so it wouldn’t get in the official J-League photo or something like that.
The banner above is basically telling Hirayama to man the fuck up – and to his credit he did so and had a couple solid chances.
With Nagatomo, Konno, and Kajiyama off the roster to serve their country and Akamine scratched for reasons I’m not sure of, it was up to Cabore and the rest of the Tokyo roster to get the ball into the net. The first 10 minutes more or less defined the game – Bruno Quadros scored in the second minute of play, sealing the victory and kicking off an attack that left Verdy GK Doi constantly on the defensive.
After about the first 15-20 minutes things reached a more equal attack/counter-attack balance, with most of Verdy’s shots sailing far wide of the goal. The first half was also a good indicator of how much of a whiny pussy Hulk is – every time he fell over he would look for a foul, then upon not finding it give his “I’m going to cry if you don’t give me a free kick” face, as seen in the last Tokyo Derby:
Unfortunately after a good half-dozen such occurances the ref probably figured Hulk would start crying, so for a good strech from midway through the first half to some time into the second half, FC Tokyo was the recipient of several questionable foul calls – one notes that Verdy took 21 free kicks as opposed to Tokyo’s 12. There were also several non-calls that should have been called for Tokyo, particularly a nasty takedown on Hirayama as he approached the Verdy goal early in the second half.
Also notable on the Tokyo squad was Emerson – though he got taken down several times throughout the game he always got back up and was on-hand to create some solid attacks for Tokyo.
But all was moot as two minutes after receiving a yellow card, Sahara slammed in a glorious header off of a free kick, for all intents and purposes sealing 3 points for the Gasmen. Yusuke, who came in for Hirayama at the 65 minute mark, kicked in a third goal for good measure as the FCT supporters sang out the closing minutes in style.
Ore… ao to aka…
Issho ao to aka…
Ore… ao to aka…
Midori no ga dai-kirai
(sung to the tune of the Great Escape theme)
In other Group B results, Shimizu S-Pulse dispatched Jubilo in round two of their Shizuoka Derby by the score of 4-2, likely solidifying Shimizu’s trip to the second round. S-Pulse leads the group with 10 points, followed by FC Tokyo with 7, Jubilo with 4, and Verdy with 1. Verdy is all but eliminated from contention, while Jubilo needs a lot of luck and FC Tokyo needs at least one more win plus a bit of luck. Next weekend FC Tokyo hosts Shimizu out in Matsumoto Stadium, a game I hope to attend one way or another.
In other random news, FC Tokyo will play a “pre-season” friendly match at home against Olimpia Asuncion, Paraguay’s oldest and most storied club team. Don’t ask me why they’re playing a “pre-season” match in the middle of the season, but it should be fun either way.
It’s pouring buckets outside and is supposed to continue doing so well into tomorrow, with Yahoo! Japan predicting a 50% chance of rain at kickoff. It will be wet, it will be humid, the game technically doesn’t matter, and the fallout from the clusterfuck at last week’s Urawa/Gamba match may mean that stadium security will be a bit too overzealous in making sure that peace is kept between the two supporter groups, but it will be a Tokyo Derby nonetheless.
What to write… honestly, I don’t even know, I was in Yoyogi last night and the night before to shoot at Zher the Zoo and my ears still haven’t regained their full capabilities. Let’s see…
-This is a Nabisco Cup qualifier, so, as I said, it doesn’t really matter when it comes to J1. Currently Shizuka is in the lead with 7 points, followed by FCT and Jubilo with 4 each (FCT leads on goals scored?) and Verdy trailing with two points. An FC Tokyo win would undoubtedly eliminate Verdy from the Cup.
-If you want to talk momentum, FC Tokyo is coming off of a much-needed win in Jubilo after losing two straight 1-0 decisions to the home crowd and squandering a Golden Week Spring that could have easily found them in first place. However, in a “fortuitous” series of results, none of the other teams at the top of the standings were really able to capitalize on anything, leaving FC Tokyo in 3rd place, three points behind Nagoya and Urawa. Verdy has recovered from its poor form early on in the season, going 4-1-1 in the last 6 games and rising to 11th place at 17 points. Given that the difference between 4th place (Kashiwa and Kawasaki, 20 points) and 16th place (Jubilo) is only 6 points, we could (and most likely will) see a totally different order by the time the season ends.
-Verdy will be at full strength for the game because their team is nothing but foreigners and old men (FC Nippon indeed!). However, FC Tokyo has 3 players who are wearing the Samurai Blue for the national team and won’t be in the lineup (Kajiyama is w/ the U-23 team in Europe, while Nagatomo and Konno are with the A-team in Japan) The pitch condition will blow, expect to see the Green Gaijin Gang get substituted or warm the bench for Verdy while FCT will give some of its younger players a chance to start – possibly Yusuke, Otake… who knows.
-Who knows how security will be as a result of the incident between Gamba and Urawa last weekend… personally I don’t think either set of fans feels like starting shit in the rain. I hope not.
–Soilent Green has some random facts about the derby, including player participation and such as well as duly noting that Blue/Red has owned Green for the majority of the rivalry. In an unrelated matter from one of his previous posts he admits that I Am Right. Not that we didn’t already know this, of course.
And that’s all for now because I’m damned tired. See you tomorrow at Ajisuta!
Following a meeting held on April 15th by the J.LEAGUE Rules Committee, Tokyo Verdy player Hulk has been punished with a three-game suspension. The affected matches are April 16th vs. Shimizu S-Pulse (Nabisco Cup Preliminary Round), April 19th vs. Kashiwa Reysol (J.LEAGUE Round 7), and April 26th vs. Nagoya Grampus Eight (J.LEAGUE Round 8).
Hulk, upon receiving two yellow cards and being ejected from Verdy’s match against FC Tokyo on April 12th, was alleged to have directed insulting language towards the match officials. According to league officials, “Insulting language towards one a match official or sub-official, or committing other pubicly slanderous acts, is deserving of a 2-game penalty.” This penalty has been added to the standard one-game suspension for receiving a red card for a total of three games.
What will this mean for Verdy? In the short term, their chances of defeating Shimizu in roughly 18 hours have dropped significantly. The match against Kashiwa is muddled even further, and Verdy will now be at a severe disadvantage against Nagoya, the current league leader. I wonder how long it’s going to take the team to change the image on their front page.
In the long term, given his behavior during his short stint in Kawasaki, getting ejected and then additionally suspended only a short two weeks after signing a ¥500 million ($5 million) contract doesn’t look good under any circumstance. Verdy snapped up Hulk as quickly as they could to shore up their lackluster offense, and if he doesn’t have the presence of mind to not do stupid things that result in him getting ejected, Hulk may find himself a free agent sooner rather than later.
In honor of this decision, here’s Hulk about to tear up after he got served by Nagatomo late in the game:
Hulk smash! Hulk cry! Hulk sit in the corner and listen to Linkin Park!
So, I can’t start this blog without saying something about the Tokyo Derby that took place yesterday evening, resulting in the most energy I’ve ever seen come from our supporters. However much we hate Verdy, it’s obvious that the Tokyo Derby is good for both sides and so I wish Verdy the best of luck in staying at the bottom of the division, but not so far down as to get relegated 😉
In any case here’s a few videos that should sum up the day quite handily:
スパサカ Pickup Feature
Coverage from TBS’s well-known football program. Includes audio of Verdy’s manager getting pissed after Fukunishi’s yellow card.
This appears to be shot from the sidelines or from damned close to the field in any case. Good angles on the two FC Tokyo goals.
Postgame bow & シャーシャーシャ Cheer
This cheer was originally started by Amaral back in the day. The thing is that in the last couple weeks, duties to deliver this cheer have fallen to new players such as Otake (last week against Sapporo) and Hanyu (this week against Verdy). Unfortunately, Hanyu had no idea what to do, and so after some confusion he had to run over and ask other teammates for instructions. Fortunately Nagatomo joined him at the last minute to help out when he still seemed lost and then performs some acrobatics of his own.
Next match, this coming Wednesday at Kokuritsu against Jubilo Iwata! It’s a weeknight Nabisco Cup qualifier so I don’t expect that the supporters will be anywhere near capacity, but as it’s been 8 or 9 months since I’ve been to these grounds I’m looking forward to it.