Tag Archives: yuto nagatomo

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!

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Nagatomo to Italy, Aishiteru Tokyo awakens

Don't call it a comeback, we've been here for years.

Actually, we've been really busy with, well everything. But, much like J-League this coming weekend, Aishiteru Tokyo is back and much like FCT will do our best in the “Post-W” struggle.

To start with, let's get the big news out of the way.

Nagatomo @ Cesena

Yuto Nagatomo, FCT and Japan's star side back, has signed a one-year loan deal with newly-promoted Serie A side A.C. Cesena. He will be the 9th Japanese player to ply his trade in Italy, and the first defender.

He will apparently be back in Japan to greet fans following Saturday's Vissel Kobe game, which should make the resumption of J-League play in Tokyo all the more memorable.

Best of luck to you, Yuto. Kick some Italian ass and be ready to lead Japan in four years in Brazil.

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Official Schedule! Plus, FCT NT news

The official schedule has been released… and the 2chantards got it right, as far as I can tell.

Bolded games are home, italicized games are Nabisco Cup fixtures.

Date Day Opponent Location Time
3/6 Saturday Yokohama F. Marinos Ajinomoto Stadium 2PM
3/14 Sunday Urawa Reds Saitama Stadium 2002 2PM
3/20 Saturday Cerezo Osaka Ajinomoto Stadium 7PM
3/28 Sunday Omiya Ardija NACK5 2PM
3/31 Wednesday Nagoya Grampus Kokuritsu 7PM
4/4 Sunday Kawasaki Frontale Todoroki 4PM
4/10 Saturday Kashima Antlers Ajinomoto Stadium 7PM
4/14 Wednesday Omiya Ardija NACK5 7PM
4/17 Saturday Kyoto Sanga Ajinomoto Stadium 5PM
4/24 Saturday Gamba Osaka Banpaku 5PM
5/1 Saturday Sanfrecce Hiroshima Big Arch 7PM
5/5 Wednesday Vegalta Sendai Ajinomoto Stadium 2PM
5/9 Sunday Montedio Yamagata 4PM
5/15 Saturday Shimizu S-Pulse Ajinomoto Stadium 2PM
5/22 Saturday Albirex Niigata Komazawa Stadium 2PM
5/26 Wednesday Vegalta Sendai 7PM
6/6 Sunday Kyoto Sanga Ajinomoto Stadium 3PM
6/9 Wednesday Cerezo Osaka 7PM
7/17 Saturday Vissel Kobe Ajinomoto Stadium 6:30PM
7/25 Sunday Shonan Bellmare Hiratsuka Field 6PM
7/28 Wednesday Jubilo Iwata Kokuritsu 7PM
7/31 Saturday Albirex Niigata Big Swan 7PM
8/8 Sunday Nagoya Grampus Ajinomoto Stadium 7PM
8/14 Saturday Kashima Antlers Kashima Stadium 7PM
8/18 Wednesday Cerezo Osaka 7PM
8/21 Saturday Sanfrecce Hiroshima Ajinomoto Stadium 6:30PM
8/28 Saturday Vissel Kobe 7PM
9/12 Sunday Urawa Reds Ajinomoto Stadium
9/18 Saturday Jubilo Iwata Yamaha Stadium
9/25 Saturday Omiya Ardija Ajinomoto Stadium
10/3 Sunday Shonan Bellmare Kokuritsu
10/16 Saturday Vegalta Sendai
10/23 Saturday Albirex Niigata Ajinomoto Stadium
10/30 Saturday Shimizu S-Pulse Nihondaira
11/6 Saturday Gamba Osaka Ajinomoto Stadium
11/14 Sunday Yokohama F. Marinos Nissan Stadium
11/20 Saturday Kawasaki Frontale Ajinomoto Stadium
11/23 Tuesday Nagoya Grampus
11/27 Saturday Montedio Yamagata Ajinomoto Stadium
12/4 Saturday Kyoto Sanga

In NT news, Nagatomo and Tokunaga were in the starting lineup against Venezuela last night.  While the match was a somewhat boring and disappointing 0-0 draw, Hirayama did come on as a substitute and showed enough kiai to, in my opinion, earn a spot in the starting lineup during the East Asian Cup, which starts this coming weekend.

Speaking of the East Asian Cup, Ishikawa’s apparently done something to his calf and has been left off the starting roster.  Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious!

[Match Report] J1 Week 30 Shimizu S-Pulse 1:2 FC Tokyo

J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Semifinal Part 2
First Half
1- 2
Second Half
0 – 0

Final
1 – 2

October 25th 2009, 1:03PM Kickoff at Nihondaira “Outsourcing” Stadium (Shimizu, Shizuoka) Attendance 19,275
GK K. Yamamoto
DF Ichikawa
DF Iwashita
DF Arata
DF Ota
MF Edamura
MF M. Yamamoto
MF Ito
MF Hyodo
FW Johnsen
FW Okazaki
Starting Members
GK 20 Shuichi Gonda
DF 25 Yuhei Tokunaga
DF 4 Bruno Quadros
DF 6 Teriyuki Konno
DF 5 Yuto Nagatomo
MF 10 Yohei Kajiyama
MF 28 Takuji Yonemoto
MF 40 Tatsuya Suzuki
MF 22 Naotake Hanyu
FW 24 Shingo Akamine
FW 13 Sota Hirayama
Fujimoto on for Hyodo (68)
Hara on for Masaki (69)
Takaki on for Arata (78)

Substitutes 25′ 33 Kenta Mukuhara (for Nagatomo)
76′ 15 Daishi Hiramatsu (for Tatsuya)
85′ 8 Ryuji Fujiyama (for Hanyu)
7′ Okazaki Goals 3′ Tatsuya Suzuki
39′ Own Goal
89′ Iwashita Cautions 28′ Sota Hirayama
33′ Shingo Akamine
Ejections

Report

Apologies for the late report, Nabisco Cup preparations are consuming my days.
It was a sunny, blustery afternoon at Nihondaira; perfect for a soccer match.  Nihondaira has become one of my favorite stadiums in Japan this season; great architecture combined with a welcoming atmosphere, great concessions, and a passionate supporter base.  We took all local trains (3.5 hours but also about 40% of the cost of a shinkansen), so the trip started at about 9AM, but it was worth it to arrive up the mountain.

Oh, and the game was pretty good too, except when it wasn’t.  Most of this has to do with the a Mr. Joji Kashihara, a referee so incompetent that he wouldn’t be able to officiate a game of rock paper scissors without calling a foul.  Between the constant whistling of non-fouls, whistling of real fouls, and general ineptitude, the game proceeded with a glacial pace at times with the players almost unwilling to go full steam out of fear that the play would just be whistled dead.  According to his Wikipedia entry (Japanese only), Kashihara is known for whistling too often, brandishing cards too often, and allowing the game to get out of control too easily.  He refereed the Urawa Reds-Manchester United friendly in ’05, as well as a Shonan Bellmare-Tokyo Verdy match in ’07 which saw 12 yellow cards and 2 ejections.

So yeah, as far as I’m concerned in the first half Tokyo were playing against 12 men.

The first half started with a bang as Tatsuya snuck in a fantastic header goal that seemed to set the pace for the day.  4 minutes later, however, Shimizu capitalized on a corner kick to get one back courtesy of Okazaki, who scored about 50 goals in NT play earlier this month.  Once again, Tokyo’s ineffectiveness at defending against the set play was plain for all to see, but the team fought back (against both S-Pulse and the ref) and gained control of the game back.

At 25′, a stunning substitution as Nagatomo was pulled out for Kenta Mukuhara.  It was later announced that Nagatomo had suffered a dislocated shoulder (!) during pre-game warmups.  The team has announced that it will take 3 weeks for him to fully heal but from what I understand they’re gonna tape him up and give him some Tylenol and push him onto the field next Tuesday.  In any case, Mukuhara did very well in Nagatomo’s stead so it could have been worse.

At about 35′, Tokyo scored what we thought was goal #2… until it was called back for offsides.  I need to see a replay to determine whether or not it was a valid offsides call, but by then the supporters were absolutely exasperated.  Fortunately 4 minutes later Shimizu defender Iwashita would give us a gift; in attempting to clear the ball he unintentionally headed it in for an own goal.  Thanks #5!  Tokyo would go into halftime with a 2-1 lead.

The second half featured less scoring but someone must have warned Kashihara that unless he started calling some fouls against Shimizu someone was gonna file a complaint, because the groans from the home end echoed those of the away end in the first half.  Tokyo basically managed to assert complete control of the game and displayed some of its signature passing and created a few more scoring chances that, sadly, didn’t work out.  Near the end of the game, lifetime Tokyo veteran Ryuji Fujiyama, who announced earlier this week that he would be leaving the team after 16 years with the organization, came on as a substitution much to the delight of the visiting crowd.  After 90 minutes the players were exhausted and a few limped to the visitor end, but the 3 points were ours.

With this victory, Tokyo is in 5th place:

1.  Kawasaki Frontale (55)
2. Kashima Antlers (54)
3. Gamba Osaka (51)
4. Shimizu S-Pulse (50)
5. FC Tokyo (49)

and not only are we in 5th place but stunningly, despite all of the problems this team has had to face over the course of the season, we are still in ACL contention.  More on that in the next post.  For now, back to flagmaking.

News Digest: Fujiyama, Ishikawa, Sold Out Games, and Nabisco Cup!

Player News:

-In the hopes that he can possibly return before the end of the season, Naohiro Ishikawa has been recieving rehabilitation treatment at the team’s Kodaira training facility.  The star midfielder has received countless letters of support including many from non-Tokyo supporters.  Nao is scheduled to have a followup checkup on the 28th and the team will release details of his injury that day.

-Tokyo veteran Ryuji Fujiyama, who has been with the team for 16 years (extending back to the Tokyo Gas era), will be released following the 2009 season.  The team has apparently offered Fujiyama a coaching position, but, in his words, “I intend to keep playing until my body falls apart.”

-Yuto Nagatomo rejoined the team in practice this week and is expected to start against Shimizu on Sunday.

-In the last week Touchuu (the FC Tokyo edition of Chunichi Sports) has ran articles claiming that Tatsuya Suzuki, Naotake Hanyu, and Sota Hirayama are all ready/willing to fill the goal-scoring gap left by Ishikawa.  Where were they all season…?

Ticket News:

It appears that FC Tokyo may play up to 4 consecutive sold out J.League games in the next month:

-Tomorrow’s match against Shimizu sold out as of Thursday (10/23)

-the Nabisco Cup Final has long been sold out

-The team announced earlier this week that the lower bowl of Ajinomoto has been sold out for the 11/8 matchup versus Urawa

-Visitor end tickets for the late-November tie against Chiba sold out within minutes upon going on sale Friday.

And this morning the ‘remaining’ tickets went on sale for the Nabisco Cup (pretty much all credit card-only); I nearly got a ticket but Visa fucked things up and so no SB ticket for me (which if one looks at the prices at scalper shops, I could have sold for enough profit to pay for tomorrow’s trip to Shimizu).  Me? Bitter.  Somewhat.  In fact very.  But see below.

Note that this doesn’t include the 11/11 Emperor’s Cup Game, which takes place on a Wednesday night in Nagasaki and will attract maybe a couple dozen Tokyo supporters.  Seriously, JFA, knock this neutral venue bullshit off.

Nabisco Cup News:

-J’s Goal is getting choreography fans pumped up with a 6-year retrospective of pre-game tifos.  Y’all know I love this shit.

-Dunno what LA12’s tifo display will be but ours (as in me and previous special reporter Andre) will be awesome.  Pics this week, hopefully!

-Design tickets are in the mail!  Here’s my haul:

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Original Design Ticket 4x, FC Tokyo ticket lottery allotment 2x, SOCIO allotment 1x.  These are all going for at least 6-7,000 yen each on the open market, but I am being a good supporter and giving them to friends at face value.  Because lord knows I’m immoral in every other way so I might as well make up for it 😉

Catching Up: Osaka, Iwata, Nagoya, NT, Emperor's, yadda yadda

Why no, I haven't disappeared into a black hole, but September was an unusually busy month for me and October isn't shaping up to be much freer.  Here's what I've missed posting about:

-The Gamba Osaka match was pretty much exactly as you'd expect from an 0-0 draw; the team fought valiantly without Hirayama but it was pretty much a deadlock.  Not even going to bother posting highlights, nothing to see here.

-The first half of the Jubilo Iwata match was pretty much as lifeless as the Gamba match… then it got interesting in the second half, turning into a back-and-forth shootout that culminated in a come-from-behind 3-2 Tokyo victory.  Ishikawa, Nagatomo, and Akamine all contributed goals in the win.

-The Nagoya match was a much more fiercely contested match than expected.  Tokyo went up 2-1 in the first half on goals by Ishikawa and Suzuki but faced a resurgent Nagoya in the second half.  The team hit a roadblock when Teriyuki Moniwa sustained a severe cut under his eye after taking an inadvertent elbow from Aussie striker Kennedy.  Still, Tokyo prevailed and is currently in 7th place.
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-Four FCT players were named to the National Team for October's matches: Konno, Nagatomo, Ishikawa, and Tokunaga.  For some reason or another Ishikawa was left off the squad for the Hong Kong game, a 6-0 romping by Japan in which Nagatomo scored a goal and Tokunaga contributed an assist as a substitute.  Ishikawa finally found a starting role in last night's exhibition game against Scotland, a largely meaningless affair that Japan finally won 2-0

And now I'm off to Ajinomoto Stadium to watch anyone Jofuku deems healthy enough to play take on Kamatamare Sanuki in the Emperor's Cup Round 2.  I expect that both Sanuki fans making the trip will be very nice people.

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Rumor: Celtic FC shows interest in Nagatomo

Came across a tweet that lead me to a Sponichi Annex article that I was expecting to have to translate, then I found out that it quoted an article in the Scotland Evening Times that indicates that Celtic FC is possibly considering taking a shot at Nagatomo.  Here's the juicy bit from an article headlined “First NAKA, now NAGA”:

CELTIC have been linked with another Japanese player – and he comes with a recommendation from Shunsuke Nakamura.

Yuto Nagatomo is currently making a big name for himself as a defender with FC Tokyo.

But it has been his performances while playing alongside Naka with the Japanese national team headed to next summer's World Cup finals which are predicted to make him the next J-league player to move west.

Nakamura has been so impressed with the rising star, who just turned 23 at the weekend, he is telling anyone who might be in the market for a young defender that they would have no regrets if they took a punt on Nagatomo.
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Reports in Japan claim Celtic are already looking closely at him, though no formal approach to his club has been made to date.

The article claims that FC Tokyo values Nagatomo at about 2 million pounds (roughly $3.3 million US), which in the face of Cabore's $5 million sale to Qatar would seem to be a gruesomely low amount until one considers that the soccer sheiks tend to overpay for Brazillian strikers when they have their hearts set on it.  Still, Nagatomo's gotta be worth more than Cabore and his value could only increase with a good showing in next year's World Cup.

The question, of course, is whether or not an NT player would be wise to make such a move in a World Cup year.  Nagatomo certainly has the skills to play well in Europe, but how would the team fare next season without its treasured sideback?

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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.
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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.

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Match Report: Nabisco Cup Quarterfinals First Leg: FC Tokyo vs. Nagoya Grampus

J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Quarterfinal Round Game 1
First Half
4 – 0 Second Half
1 – 1

Final
5 – 1

July 15th 2009, 7:30PM Kickoff at Ajinomoto Stadium (Chofu, Tokyo) Attendance 12,226
GK 20 Shuichi Gonda
DF 25 Yuhei Tokunaga
DF 4 Bruno Quadros
DF 6 Yasuyuki Konno
DF 5 Yuto Nagatomo
MF 28 Takuji Yonemoto
MF 10 Yohei Kajiyama
MF 18 Naohiro Ishikawa
MF 22 Naotake Hanyu
FW 9 Cabore
FW 13 Sota Hirayama
Starting Members
GK 21 Koji Nishimura
DF 32 Hayuma Tanaka
DF 2 Akira Takeuchi
DF 5 Takahiro Masukawa
DF 26 Masaya Sato
MF 10 Yoshizumi Ogawa
MF 7 Naoshi Nakamura
MF 14 Keiji Yoshimura
MF 8 Magnum
FW 19 Keita Sugimoto
FW 9 Davi
Half 24 Shingo Akamine (for Cabore)
68′ 40 Tatsuya Suzuki (for Takuji Yonemoto)
71′ 27 Sotan Tanabe (for Naohiro Ishikawa)
Substitutes Half 11 Keiji Tamada (for Davi)
61′ 13 Kei Yamaguchi (for Keiji Yoshimura)
70′ 18 Tomohiro Tsuda (for Keita Sugimoto)
3′ Sota Hirayama
10′ Takuji Yonemoto
11′ Naohiro Ishikawa
26′ Yuto Nagatomo
75′ Own Goal
Goals 53′ Yoshizumi Ogawa
  Cautions 26′ Akira Takeuchi
88′ Hayuma Tanaka
  Ejections  

Report

Those of you who are familiar with the legendary Blizzard game Starcraft probably remember the one time you played against a Korean player.  You shoulders immediately tensed, the hairs on your arm stuck straight up, a fine line of sweat formed across your brow; all of this before the game even started.  While you attempted to build up your noble Terran army and began to construct factories and even a few bunkers, your opponent already had an army under his command.  Then, out of nowhere, a wave of zerglings overruns you as if you were the last Tickle-Me-Elmo on Black Friday, and they leave behind them a twisted mass of wreckage akin to New Orleans, post-Katrina.  You sat at your computer, desolate, perhaps a small wet spot spreading on the front of your pants, wondering why you’d even bothered showing up in the first place.

That’s more or less what it must have felt like to be a Nagoya fan in Ajinomoto Stadium last night.

Nagoya, stung by a 3-0 defeat on Sunday, attempted to barrel their way to the Tokyo goal and get a couple goals that would, at the very least, help them in the event of a tiebreaker.  Tokyo had other intentions, however, and the first goal was so quick that some fans were probably still pouring into the stadium.  10 minutes later the score was 3-0 courtesy of an incredibly well-placed shot by Yonemoto and yet another score by Ishikawa, bringing his streak to 6 games in a row which sets a new team record.  Nagatomo contributed a score of his own at 26′, and the team basically spent the rest of the first half in incredibly intricate passing sequences, much like bullies passing a stuffed animal back and forth to keep it away from a little kid.  Nagoya’s players were visibly frustrated, as were the fans who hoisted a banner exclaiming “Fight back if you’re man enough! behind their goal.  Pixi looked like he wanted to impale himself on the corner kick flag and end it all right then and there.

The second half featured a lot more miscues, errors, and generally sloppy play by Tokyo; not enough to turn the game to Nagoya’s favor but just enough to wipe out the afterglow of an amazing first half.  One could argue that playing 2 games in 4 days against the same opponent is quite tiring, especially when Nagoya played some dirty football in an attempt to derail Tokyo’s concentration, but some of these mistakes were facepalm-worthy.  Poor clearing choices, missed passes, hesitations on the attack… you name it, they screwed it up.  Fortunately this lapse only lasted long enough to give away one goal, and Tokyo went back to kicking ass and taking names for the rest of the match until newly-signed striker Owen Gouru, appearing on a one-day contract, knocked in the 5th goal.

With the win, Tokyo takes a 4-goal difference into Nagoya in two weeks.  A 3-goal loss or a better result would be enough to send Tokyo into the semifinals, where it will face either Shimizu or Urawa (who won their first match 2-1 at home).

News from Guam Camp and the NT

First the bad news: because of poor performance in the Guam training camp, starting GK Hitoshi Shiota returned on Friday to Japan for a medical examination, which was conducted in Saitama on Saturday. The examination diagnosed heatstroke and glandular swelling, and a second examination has been scheduled for a few days from now.

Now the good news. Two FC Tokyo players have been named to the team for the 2/4 Kirin Challenge Cup match against Finland and the World Cup qualifier against Australia on 2/11. DF Yuto Nagamoto and MF Yasuyuki Konno will be wearing NT blue on both dates.