The Kids are Alright?

One of the charges that MOIST often levelled at Hayano was the fact he would start the same XI over and over again. Now, that’s fine for some players but others need a rest. Mini Me had a bit of a burn out mid-season last year but he was part of Hayano’s XI and kept his place. When something was finally done to ease the burden we all found out that Shimizu was in fine form. Imagine if we’d rotated? MOIST aren’t advocating Rafa Benitez style weekly culls but Hayano could have learned something, anything, from him.

With back-to-back Nabisco Cup games in the space of 4 days coming up we’re about to find out what Kuwahara’s policy is going to be. In the two games so far he has stuck with the same XI (bar Roni for suspension reasons) and the same subs bench (except for a change in reserve goalie). This would make sense. The starting team for the first game of the season will always be your strongest and having a week to recover before the second game gives the players ample opportunity to rest and recuperate.

The next four days, though, are different. Oita, who have started the season well, at home followed by Omiya, the bogey team, away. Can the same XI play both games? Surely not. On paper we should be able to beat both Oita and Omiya  and the fact of the matter is our bench warmers should be able to perform well against them. If they can’t then they have no business being at a club who has aspirations for glory let alone anywhere near the bench.

In the first two games Aria, Hyodo, Mizunuma and Ogura have been on the bench and not started whilst Sakata, Shimizu and Mini Me have been used. In theory that is complete midfield and forward lines ready to go.

MOIST aren’t suggesting that all 7 should start but if we want to compete on two fronts we need the reserves to have the ability to slot in and get the job done. We also need the manager to have the confidence to give the youngsters a chance, something Hayano seemed loath to do.

So, Mr Kuwahara, what’s it to be? Are the kids alright?

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J-League Week 2 vs Consadole Sapporo

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Davi do Nascimento 52 Goals Hideo Oshima 86
Hideo Oshima 87
Masaya Fujita Yellow Cards .



The magnificent Sapporo Dome.Topsy-turvy would be an understatement if MOIST used it to describe last Saturday’s game at the magnificent Sapporo Dome. It truly was a rollercoaster of emotion. Before the start of the game we were treated to the ballboys dancing like the cheerleaders as well as a brass band. Let them have their fun, MOIST thought, it’s going to be a long 90 minutes for them.

It was clear from the outset that we were going to stuff poor old Consadole. Koji, playingAnd the band played on… against a former team for the second week in a row, was imperious in midfield whilst Sakata, in for the suspended Roni, was out to make his mark and retain his place. Once the first goal went in the others would flow like alcohol at an Irish wedding (or baptism, or funeral, or PTA meeting, or kindergarten graduation, or…well, you get the point). We just needed the first goal.

Ballboys playing at being cheerleaders.It never came. After 20 minutes it was still 0-0 and a case of “Dear God, I didn’t pay all this money and come all this way for it to be one of those days.” After 44 minutes God was well and truly forsaken as the referee gave Consadole a dubious penalty. The replays clearly show, oh wait, this is Japan, there are no replays. So, take it from MOIST, it was clearly a dubious penalty.

Up stepped Claiton to fire it home and send Sapporo in at the break one up against the run of play and leaving MOIST with a long night to not look forward to.

Except he didn’t.

The ball smacked sweetly against the bar and flew harmlessly into orbit. God was back onThe front of the tee. the agenda and if fortune wasn’t on our side then MOIST were a monkey’s uncle. Consadole would go in at the break shattered by the miss and never recover. The second half would be a breeze and the goals would fly in right in front of us, the travelling faithful.

7 minutes into the second half MOIST stuggled into a cheap gorilla costume and started snacking down on bananas and assorted fleas.The back of the tee. Sapporo had scored. A nothing ball into the box was nicely chested down and Davi, the diving little bugger, was all alone to place the ball in the bottom corner.

30 minutes later they were still one up and God was being asked kindly if a point would be alright and if it wasn’t too much bother for the Almighty could he just run along and deal with that now, his son appearing in ketchup on a hamburger could wait.

The crowd go wild.And then from nowhere, well, not entirely nowhere but after Sapporo scored they defended very, very well and we didn’t look like we were ever going to break them down. So, then from somewhere, Oshima appeared. Two minutes later we were 2-1 up and it was smiles all round.

Long way home to Yokohama, lads, but we didn’t mind.

Man of the Match: Oshima – Two priceless goals to send us into the Nabisco break in high spirits. Was a tad anonymous at times but MOIST feels Kuwahara might be able to play to his strengths more than Hayano could.

Yokohama F-Marinos: Tetsuya; Yuzo, Yuji, Yusuke; Komiyama (Shimizu 76), Hayuma (Mini Me 81), Naoki, Lopes, Koji; Sakata, Oshima. Subs: Iikura, Ogura, Aria, Hyodo, Mini-me, Shimizu, Mizunuma.

Kuwahara TakashiKuwahara: “Todays game was of critical importance. I suspected that it would be a difficult game and duly conveyed my concerns to the players before the game. Evidently my suspicions turned out to be correct. If only we could have capitalized on some of our chances early in the game then we wouldn’t have had such a tough hill to climb…
Nevertheless, I would like to extend my gratitude to the players for refusing to give-up and for single-mindedly  focusing on the task in hand until the very last minute.
Sapporo’s defence exceeded our expectations as they defended their goal tenaciously and made it difficult for us to find the net.
Komiyama was beginning to look tired and having trouble making his mark on the game so I brought him off for Shimizu. Tanaka Hayuma too, was having similar problems so I replaced him with Yamase Yukihiro in the hope of making use of his left foot.
There was little time remaining on the clock and we were having no success in our attacks from the flanks that I decided upon an ‘all or nothing’ style approach. Despite his height advantage, Oshima was being nullified and having trouble getting on the end of the balls he was played so I made a change in tactics so that we could get the ball to him. Oshima was our top scorer last season and although he likes to make use of his height, he has also been working diligently on his footwork in training and has really started to show improvement which I can confidently say he has shown us today.
2 wins in a row is great but its still too early to go overboard about it in terms of comments. Coming from behind in tough games like this and going on to win is a confidence builder for the players and great for the overall team atmosphere. From this point on, I want us to continue our winning run so we can get a head start over our opponents in the table.”

Oshima HideoOshima: “Regarding the 2nd goal, Koji made a powerful shot on goal and I knew that the Goalkeeper would have trouble holding on to it so I anticipated a fumble, read the play and took my chance. Being preempted by the opponent is what I hate the most so I just wanted to do whatever I could to score our first goal.
If we had lost today, I feel it would have rendered last weeks victory meaningless. I want to face the Kashima game next week with a strong challenging spirit.”

Yamase KojiKoji: “Sapporo had a strong formation and a tight defence in front of goal. We played a strong formation but just couldn’t snatch a goal when needed. However, throughout the 90 mins we played we didn’t lose our balance and remained firm so I feel we can attribute our victory to our resilience more than anything.”

 

Matsuda NaokiMatsuda: “Following on from last weeks game, the coach had some interesting views on this weeks game. He said “We  could be unlucky and concede a goal but, if we score 2 goals, we will win” so I was really surprised that his forecast came true!. This is the one game that we definitely had to win – a loss would have been unacceptable. Winning this game was a big deal for us.”

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Picture this…

Frosted Lucky Charms, so said the advert, were magically delicious. I don’t know about delicious but MOIST enterained our own Frosted Lucky Charms during the Reds game and they proved to be magically something.

In the interests of disclosure for ‘Frosted’ read drunk and for ‘something’ read drunk.

Naoki Ole.Firstly, I’m pretty sure all you loyal MOISTheads arThe back of the tee. 4 stars in 2008.e thinking, “Hey, where’s the tee?” Apologies for the delay in it’s appearance and apologies for me using an old idea but it seemed perfect for the day.

The old Naoki Swoosh, good times.

My, sir, what a big flag you have.As you all know there were 62,000 in the Nissan for the game and a hell of a lot of them were in blue. It was nice to see so many turn out and, hopefully, it won’t just be opening day fun and a lot of them will come back. The Nissan is a quiet place with 17,000 62,000 in the Nissan to watch the Marinos, Dr Jones.kicking around in it. Here’s wishing we can make every game a 25,000+ attendance.

It’s raining points, hallelujah.As is the tradition with the Marinos at the end of a good win the umbrellas come out. Loved by Marinos fans and hated, apparently, by fools with no sense who support second rate opposition, like the Reds, it’s always a good feeling to have a quickMore umbrellas. twirl at the end of the game. And, as MOIST proved today, the umbrellas double as handy rain blockers.

Long train ride home to Saitama, lads.One thing you can say about the Reds, actually I could say a lot of things about the Reds but right now I mean nice things, is that they do have a great support. Oh, to have 55,000 a game at the Nissan. If you look at the photos you’ll see big gaps amongst the Reds fans. Don’t let that fool you. They were out in force for 90 minutes but, sadly for them, they lost and quickly skuttled home, tails between their legs. Long train ride home to Saitama (or Chiba, or Tokyo, or Osaka, or wherever their “loyal” fans come from), lads.

What, no raining men?

Now, MOIST has a confession to make. When MOIST started it was a hardcore two. In essence it is still a hardcore two but in reality half of the hardcore two is in a different country and MOIST now wanders a lonely path of isolation, lifted only by fleeting moments of companionship with fellow travellers beating the Marinos path. Either that of drinking heavily. Maybe it is time for MOIST to expand beyond two? Perhaps make business cards and lamenate them? A secret handshake? And, most importantly, a 20 pound memebership fee. Please contact MOIST for bank details.

The three Drunkateers.Notable potential MOIST members are Nick, far left of the photo, who is MOIST’s graphic designer and Brendan, not in any of the Reds photos butYes, we’ve had a couple of beers. in the Lopes and Kawai ones, who is my translator in chief. The tubby little chap in the middle on the left and in the photo on the right is one of MOIST’s Frosted Lucky Charms. Cheers for the help, Phil.

And, finally, who could forget Sheva, the bar of bars. One of its star attractions is the man who passed out 25 minutes into the 8-1 game and woke up with 10 minutes left, conveniently missing all 9 goals. Ishi, we salute you:

But not as much as Ishi.

I’m the only thing holding him up, you realise, because his legs certainly aren’t.

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It’s Shoooo Time

Spelling be damned, a good slogan is a good slogan and the boys from Shonan Bellmare have that licked. Sadly, for us, they had the Marinos licked midweek, too.

Akimoto goes Brian BlessedNow, MOISTettes, before you go Brian Blessed shouty screamy crackers crazy, it was only a reserve game, at least for the Marinos. We have no word on the Shonan line-up so it’s hard to know if this was a good result or not.

Anyway, the match finished 2-1 to Shonan. An own goal in the 10th minute and a 30thDon’t touch me, you lanky freak. minute strike was enough to render Furube’s 16th minute goal meaningless. As we said, though, if this was a strong Shonan side containing members of the team that beat Sendai last weekend then it is a promising results for our youngsters. However, if Shonan sent out a bunch of rag-tag nobodies then, well, most people probably would have thought it was their first team anyway.

Right, lads. 1-2-4-1-2 today.Anothing thing that makes this result easier to stomach is the fact that the starting XI only seemed to have one defender, Tashiro, and more midfielders than you can shake a stick at. Honestly, I can’t begin to imagine how they lined up. 1-2-4-1-2 anyone?

Line-up: Iikura (Akimoto, 45), Tashiro, Ogura, Aria (Umei, 62), Ishihara, Shimizu (Inui, 45), Hyodo (Amano, 77), Mini Me (Yamamoto, 45), Mizunuma, Furube, Saito.

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Talk is cheap, shut up and translate

As a new service to the MOIST faithful, MOIST courtesy of WimmoTranslatingInc, for all your language needs, will be posting the post-match comments of Kuwahara and the players for all the non-Japanese speaking folks to see.

So, here for the first time in English, the Reds post-match comments.

Kuwahara TakashiKuwahara: “The players played for the win for the whole 90mins and remained singlemindedly focused on achieving their goal. This in itself can be very tiring. I didn’t give any special instructions or guidance from the bench today so the outcome of today’s match was very much down to the players themselves, for which I am grateful.
Lopes put in a good performance but keeping his condition in mind, I opted to bring on Sakata as we were down to 10 men and I thought his counterattacking and dribbling skills would prove useful in holding up the flow of play and see out the final quarter of game time.
Hayuma’s role was to penetrate with a certain degree of frequency but not so much as to bring our opponents attention to their back line. Being able to launch an attack from the wings is a distinctive characteristic that both Hayuma and Komiyama share, so I guess its only natural that we saw them perform well in those positions today.”

Komiyama TakanobuKomiyama: “Regarding the shot, I could see that Lopes was to the side of me and he wanted to take the shot at goal but I thought I would have a go. I wasn’t sure whether I had a clear path or not so I just imagined where I wanted the ball to go and struck it. I have never scored like that before – not even in training. Seeing as my onfield position is not actually fixed I want continue training hard in training and play appealing football.”

Oshima HideoOshima: “Considering it was the opening game of season, I wouldn’t say we froze up but we were perhaps a little over prudent at times. We created many chances and made some good plays and I would like to see us continue playing in this way. Roni has great skill, and is strong too. Lopes combined with Koji wonderfully too so, as a forward, I  will be looking to make the most of their partnership and score as many goals as I can.”

Enomoto TetsuyaTetsuya: “It was a good first half. We fought valiantly even though we were reduced to 10 men. It’s been a while  since we’ve had this much fun playing. To win our opening game, to defeat Urawa and see such an excellent turn out from our supporters was amazing. However, we have only won one game and the next is important too. I want to go out and ensure we don’t give our opponents a chance in the next game and secure another three points.”

Nice to see Kuwahara give credit to the players and not, in true Hayano style, take it all for himself. Let’s hope he has the balls to blame himself for mistakes and not pick on the team, too.

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J-League Week 1 vs Urawa Reds

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Komiyama 60 Goals .
Roni
Roni
Yellow Cards .
Roni Red Cards .


Oh, where to begin, where to begin? The deja vu? The hoodoo? The fact we just played the Champions of the Milky Way and Lesser Known Universes of the the pitch? The Bottlers came back to the Nissan and left exactly like last time, empty handed.

There’s MOIST. Right under that huge banner.A glorious start to the season on a glorious day in Yokohama. The sun was out, as were almost 62,000 fans, with over half of them in blue, and when the 90 minutes were done we finally remembered what it is like to beat the Reds.

Way back in 2003 was the last time we’d beaten them in the J-League and given the visitors new signings and our  less than impressive pre-season the odds were in favour of the Marinos stretching their winless streak to 9. Thankfully, it wasn’t to be.

Kuwahara opted for a 3-5-2 formation that he’d been experimenting with in pre-seasonThe line-up today… and it worked a treat. Yusuke slotting in at centre-back was far more impressive than his previous outing in that position last season and Naoki was Kawai-esque in midfield. MOIST have had issues with Naoki being used as a defensive midfielder but against the Reds he was all heart and class. Indeed, the combination of Yusuke, Naoki and Komiyama was a joy to watch. Each playing off against the other and being in the right position to cover their teammates forays to other parts of the field.

The Reds new boys, so highly touted, failed to show up. No, that is a bit harsh. A bit harsh on Yuji and Yuzo who just didn’t give them a chance to show what they could do. 2007’s top two defensive teams combined to stifle each other with the Reds being reduced to pot shots from the edge of the box that troubled only the ball boys. And when they did actually manage to keep it on target, twice perhaps, Tetsuya was there to stop it. His save from Yamada a beauty, holding the ball with Edmilson storming in for any loose change.

GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALOur new boys had a mixed day. Lopes was strong in midfield, if slightly off the pace on occassion. That said, his hard work  proved a great foil to Naoki in thwarting the Reds attack and his vision, though about 5 yards too much on most balls, bodes well when he settles into the team. Finally, perhaps, it’s not all up to Koji. As for Roni, well, let’s just hope it isn’t Suzuki Part 2. Yes, it was a bizarre case of deja vu with the new signing coming close to opening his account on his debut (a wonderul move down the right that carved the Reds open) before being sent off for kicking the ball away. The 69 minutes he did put in looked a step up from the pre-season, though. Again, it is too early to judge a player who has only been with the team for a month but the flashes were there and, as D-Ream said, things can only get better.

All-in-all, it was a great perfomance for every last one of them. It was never going to be a goal fest against the Reds but the chances were there and against lesser teams they might become goals. Solid at the back, strong in midfield, dangerous up front – it’s nice to say that and mean the other team in a Reds game. Let’s hope this is the form we show in every home game.

4 stars in 2008? It’s not in the bag yet but it’s 3 points closer.

Man of the Match: Komiyama – His first goal for the club is enough to give him the prize. To be honest, it could have been half a dozen of them after the performance but without Komiyama maybe we’d be writing about another draw.

Yokohama F-Marinos: Tetsuya; Yuzo, Yuji, Yusuke; Komiyama, Hayuma, Naoki, Lopes (Sakata 74), Koji; Roni, Oshima. Subs: Akimoto, Ogura, Aria, Hyodo, Mini-me, Shimizu, Sakata.

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Better than Hayuma?

Perhaps not stamina wise, Hayuma having the best stamina in Japan, but in every other respect the right hand side of the MOIST blog blows away all opposition.

As you can see there are a couple of fancy dan, oh la la features for your viewing pleasure.

Oh oh oh it’s Koji.First up we have the Player of the Month Award. This will be decided at the end of each, yes, you’ve guessed it, month and one of the Marinos’ ugly mugs will be displayed for the world to see. The MOIST seal of approval is highly sought after, let me tell you. Anyway, Ryuji’s throne has been usurped by the young pretender Koji. After his sparkling form for the national team and goal scoring, goal assisting and general telepathic return to the Marinos there was no other choice. Congratulations Koji. You win your photo on the MOIST blog and a dinner out with MOIST paid for by you. Well done.

TallinhoSecondly, right after the basic league table and Marinos attacking stats, we have Mike Watch. Kind of like Jihad Watch but with less Muslims. And less right wing Conservatives. And less bigotted opinions. So, nothing like it really. Mike Watch will keep all you members of the Seagull Nation updated with goings on down in Fukuoka. Hopefully, Tallinho will keep the Mike Watch ticking over nicely and will then return to the fold in 2009.

If anyone out there has any other ideas to sex up the MOIST blog just let us know. Can travel or accomodate, weekends preferred, your undraped photo gets mine in return.

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