Archive for March 2012

vs. Kyoto Sanga (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa face what on paper looks like their toughest game of the season on Sunday as they face almost all pundit’s pre-season favorites Kyoto Sanga away.

Fortunately there are a couple of factors which may mean that Avispa end the weekend as the happier team.

Firstly, Kyoto have not been in sparkling form so far with a couple of defeats, including to Gainare Tottori who we then beat 4-0 the following weekend.
Secondly, although the game is a home game for Kyoto they are playing it in Kagoshima so it will end up being closer to Fukuoka than Kyoto and may well have more Avispa fans than Sanga fans at the stadium. Neutral fans will probably out-number both. The reason for this strange choice of ground being that the founder of their sponsor (Kyocera, Kazuo Inamori) is from Kagoshima so wants the team to play a game there. If I was a season-ticket holding Kyoto fan I’d be pissed off.

Avispa news
The team should stay exactly the same as the last couple of weeks, with Hatamoto in central defence being the only possible change.
Tsutsumi is back from suspension and could come back in, but Hatamoto has played so well in his two games he deserves to maintain his place. I also think he is a better match to Kyoto’s wonderkid striker Yuya Kubo as Tsutsumi isn’t the most mobile and would only really work if they wanted to bully Kubo out of the game.

Okada and Sueyoshi to keep their fruitful midfield partnership, but if things are looking difficult I would like to see Maeda be brave enough to change things to a 451 by bringing a 3rd midfielder to control the centre.

Would be nice to see Oh get another sub appearance. Kim should stay after last week, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Omata play in a percieved defensive move.

Kyoto news
Kyoto have played well in patches this season, and had a lot of shots, but have seemed to hit the bar as much as they have scored.
Hopefully it won’t be the game against Avispa where things click, especially for their highly rated young striker Kubo who at 18 is already being touted as someone who is headed to Europe.
The game will be decided by Avispa’s defence being able to cope with his movement, and the midfield being able to hold possession.
Nakayama and Jung may be back from suspension.

My Prediction
Kyoto 0 – 1 Avispa

I don’t think Kyoto players are going to be happy about having to travel all the way to Kagoshima for their home game, and then not getting a huge reception when they get there. More likely to be a home atmosphere for Avispa hopefully, with a long range shot deciding it in a scrappy game for both teams in unfamiliar surroundings.

More importantly you’d get good odds on an Avispa win by bookies who are looking at the teams and not knowing the circumstances.

Posted March 30, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview

Kousuke Yatsuda   Leave a comment

Avispa announced the fairly surprising news today that they have signed another player to bring their squad up to the quite large size of 29 senior members.

It appears to be a transfer of convenience as Yatsuda is originally from Fukuoka, and plays as a centre-back so will fill in for Kazuki after he damaged his ACL.
At 30 years old he has played for over 10 years at J1 and J2 level, but is coming to Avispa from SC Sagamihara in the Kanto Leagues.

He seems to have had a very promising youth career, representing Japan at U-18, U-19 and U-20 level alongside people like Komano, but then saw his career tail off a little as he ended up playing semi-pro level until Avispa offered him one last shot.

Hopefully he will provide good cover, as Koga doesn’t look like he will be fit enough to be reliable, Kazuki is long-term injured, and Hatamoto is probably too young to maintain his excellent start for a full season.
I don’t want to see him brought into the team ahead of Tokio, or even Miyaji, but as someone experienced to use if needed he could be useful.

His (badly translated) comments on joining…”I would like to contribute to the team taking advantage of my characteristics; Height and Strength. Using all my power, I’ll do my best to get Avispa promotion to J1.”

Posted March 28, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

vs. Gainare Tottori (ratings)   Leave a comment

Not just a 4 – 0 win but also a really good team performance meame big scores this week.

Kamiyama – 8 Made 2 really good saves when called on, but he kicked straight into touch about 4 times again. Claimed one cross very well.

Wada – 9 Totally solid in defence and active in attack where 3 goals came from his side. 1 ambitious shot.

Kim – 9 Good in attack like always, but totally solid in defence today too. Making a really good partner ship with Naruoka.

Kobara – 8 Got his head on nearly everything and kept a clean sheet. Would like to see him getting the ball forward quicker to let others play.

Hatamoto – 8 Another completely assured performance, Avispa have found a player. Finds a way to step up and get in front of his man and tackles well.

Jogo – 9 A couple of times when I wanted him to run with the ball more, but is looking so good as he gets more time on the wing. So happy he is in a position I think suits him more, and he is looking like he is enjoying his game.

Okada – 9 Very easy to understate how important I thought he was as he does a lot of ‘dirty’ work, but his tackling and screens were as important as goals and assists. Possibly my Man of the Match.

Naruoka – 9 Scared the hell out of the defence evry time he got the ball, and working well with his team-mates now. The best thing being I think he can stay at this level and get even better.

Sueyoshi – 9 Will remember the game for scoring the best goal of his career, but did so much more than that. Defended well and passed expansively.

Sakata – 9 Scored 2 great goals, and got a very cheeky assist for the 4th. No-one is thinking about Nakamachi, Matsuura or Shigematsu now. Man of the Match.

Yutaka – 9 Big parts of the game where he was ineffective, but 2 assists and a goal has to score high.

Samir – 6 Looked comfortable in possession, but then got hit in the face and got a bit quieter. Took up good positions, but needed better service to see what he could do.

Ishizu – 7 Has great energy and the ability to beat a player. Should play 20 minutes every week.

Oh – 8 I thought he would have a nice pressure free debut at right midfield but then cam on and went crazy. Did some amazing stuff with the ball at his feet, but panicked and overhit his final ball.

Maeda – 10 A hugely attractive 4 goals, a clean sheet, keeping young players in the team and giving 2 debuts; can’t ask for much more.

Posted March 26, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Gainare Tottori (youtube)   Leave a comment

4 really classy goals. It would be great if we can score goals like this every week, but all of our goals this year have been really good ones and we will need to get scrappy goals at some point.

1st Goal – Calm Sakata
Min Je breaks from the back and gets through a tackle after playing to the whistle while the Tottori defender waited.
A switch of play to Wada on the right, and Yutaka working hard in the middle sees the ball nicely lifted to Sakata who calmly changes feet and scores through a crowd.

2nd Goal – Sakata back-heel volley.
Another cross from Wada gets to Yutaka at the back post who cross-shoots across the 6-yard box. We finally have a striker who takes up the right position and Sakata spins to back-heel volley the ball in.
Would usually be a contender for Goal of the Week but…

3rd Goal – Sueyoshi’s volley
Straight from kick-off Avispa went looking for, and found a 3rd. Sueyoshi starts and finishes with a diagonal ball to Jogo, and then jumping to volley his great cross into the corner of the goal. Duly awarded Best Goal by the J-League show.

4th Goal – Yutaka gets one
After working quite well in link-up, and coming close to scoring this season Yutaka gets his first goal. Again coming from the right Sakata does some crazy toe flick pass which falls for Yutaka to smash in.

Posted March 25, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

vs. Gainare Tottori (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa 4 – 0 Gainare
27’Sakata, 41’Sakata, 46’Sueyoshi, 51’Takahashi.

The good news at a cold and windy Level-5 Stadium was that despite a couple of slight injuries at the end of the JEF game the team facing Gainare was the same as on Tuesday. With a new team who look good in patches but struggle to find the scoring touch this is exactly what they needed.

The game started with a familiar pattern as Avispa had the edge in possession but couldn’t really convert this into scoring opportunities. The left side of the field was looking the more likely, with Kim and Sho starting to get a nice understanding, but Gainare were also looking like they had the potential to spring a runner beyond Avispa’s offside trap to cause problems.

After 21 minutes it was from the left side that Avispa made their breakthrough. Kim broke from the back and somehow rode a tackle on the sideline which resulted in the ball stopping dead on the line. While the Gainare defender stood waiting for a decision from the referee Kim nipped in and got the ball. Feeding Yutaka on the edge of the boxhe somehow got it to Sakata who calmly switched feet and lifted his shot into the corner of the goal.

Avispa started to look a bit more confident and after a slow controlling 20 minutes changed gears to double the score. With Yutaka again getting the ball in the box he cross-shot across the box where Sakata could get his 2nd with a very classy backheeled volley as the ball came across his body.

Holding a 2-0 lead at half-time with a contender for goal of the week Avispa scored what must be Goal of the week straightafter the break. While some people were still trying to get a hot drink Jogo did a great direct run down the wing and landed a cross straight onto Sueyoshi. Rather than try to bring it down he had the confidence to hit it first time with a scissors kick from outside the box with the ball rifling into the net. Sueyoshi ran to the subs knowing he had just scored a screamer.

Avispa were in party mood andtheir short passes and tricky triangles were all coming off.Another couple of goals looked inevitable. When it did come it was Yutaka’s first of the season. After Jogo again went down the right and crossed Sakata did an audacious toe flick pass which reached Yutaka. After being close a few times he registered his first goalshooting back across goal.

At 4-0 Avispa took what I think is the correct decision to bring on all 3 subs, and give experience and rest to players. Samir and Oh both came on for debuts and looked lively, while Ishizu got another 15 minutes to run at defenders and do enough to keep coming on and look like a decent young player.
Samir was taking up good positions, but needs time with his new team-mates, Oh did some incredible skills and runs but seemed to panic with his final ball.

Posted March 25, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Gainare Tottori (preview)   Leave a comment

The point against JEF has been looking better and better this week after seeing a recording of the match, and seeing that Ventforet and Kyoto both lost.

Today we face the team who beat Kyoto, Gainare Tottori, but I don’t think we can read too much into it as Kyoto had a man sent off and Gainare had lost heavily to new team FC Machida the week before.
As a new team themselves I’d hope that Avispa would be looking for a fairly comfortable home win, and especially trying to develop some more attacking threat. Perhaps the biggest area we need to work on is corners and set pieces, where at the moment it can look a little hit and hope.

Avispa news
As with last week the biggest question will be about defence. Kazuki’s injury has been announced as being really serious (ACL) and he will be out for 6 months, Koga is still out, and Hatamoto had his head kneed open at the end of the JEF game. I don’t know how long Tsutsumi’s suspension is, but if Tokio can play I’d use him with Kobara.
Attack will remain the same, and Sueyoshi shoulkd stay in midfiekd with Okada.

Gainare news
This will be the first time I’ve ever seen Tottori and know very little about them.
They have struggled a bit since joining the J-League, but as with the game against Kyoto if things fall together anyone can beat anyone in this division.

My prediction.

Avispa 2 – 0 Gainare

Strong winds at the stadium may cause problems with high balls and crosses, with Sakata causing a lot of problems for their defenders picking up the 2nd balls.
Yutaka might get his first for the season.

Posted March 25, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. JEF United (ratings)   Leave a comment

Kamiyama – 8 Don’t know if it is because of less pressure being back in J2 and not having Rokutan pushing to get his place, but he is looking good this year. Great blocks, kicks still quite bad, and only 1 dodgy moment when he ran out of the box.

Wada – 8 Pioneering the Jumping Kick Defence technique. At some point it is going to go badly wrong, but until it does I hope to see this crazy move in every game.

Kim – 8 Played his part in keeping a clean sheet against tough opposition. Had to handle Yusuke, and generally did it well while still managing to get forward.

Hatamoto – 8 Looked very dodgy in the first 5 minutes, but then became amazing. Tackled, blocked, headed everything, and can pick a pass out of defence. Must stay in the team if not tired, he’ll be our best defender in 3 months.

Kobara – 7 Solid defensively, but was always trying to do too much with the ball. Didn’t give away a goal, but should have learned from Shonan not to play around in defence.

Sueyoshi – 8 His best game in a while. Stays on his feet, but makes timely interceptions and was one of the only players picking out Jogo on the right.

Okada –8 Starting to look like a player. His intelligence seems to be his best attribute, dropping back when he needed to and keeping things defensively sound as his priority.

Naruoka – 8 Trying very hard in this game, had some really nice moments and nearly scored a goal after dribbling past 3 players. Horrible tackle on their number 9 at one point.

Jogo – 7 Did everything well, and should have got the ball more often. Needs to start demanding the ball as attacks were mostly going down the left.

Sakata – 7 Great energy again, but will be judged mainly on the goals he scores. Looked very good, but I just couldn’t imagine us scoring.

Yutaka – 6 Tried hard, but even looking even less likely to score than Sakata. I’d have liked to see Nishida or Ishizu come on earlier.

Ishizu – 6 Came on for his debut and looked pretty lively. Not enough time to make much difference but is a trier.

Miyaji – 6 Very late substitution, not sure if he touched the ball, but a useful sub to have.

Maeda – 7 With a bunch of injuries and suspensions he put out a team which could easily have got a win. Brave enough to use Hatamoto, and will hopefully now try other youngsters. Needs to work on substitutions.

Posted March 21, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. JEF United (report / youtube)   Leave a comment

Avispa 0 – 0 JEF


After the disappointment of Shonan things didn’t get any easier for Avispa as perennial ‘too good for J2’ team JEF Unitedcame to Level-5 and Avispa had changes enforced on them in midfield and defence as Tsutsumi and Suzuki were suspended and injured respectively.
Predictably Okada came into midfield, and I was very pleased to see Hatamoto came into defence. Previously I felt the managers would be happier to squeeze a more experienced player into an unfamiliar position rather than trust a youngster with their natural position.

JEF started like a train and I don’t know how they managed to avoid conceding after 3 minutes when after a succesion of corners and crosses one of them was headed back across goal to then hit the bar and fall at the feet of 2 incoming attackers to fail to connect from 1m away from an open net. Naruoka punted clear, and showed he is pretty useful in defence in a lot of this game.

Trying to use the flanks Fujita was looking dangerous in attack and holding the ball up pretty well, but then failing in the final step thanks in part to some last gasp defending, including a fantastic Hatamoto tackle in the penalty area, and a very dubious offside call where despite accusing Kim of playing him on it was actually Wada 2m ahead of him on the other side of the pitch he should have been more concerned about.
When he did get a shot on target Kamiyama had positioned himself well enough to block it well.

Avispa were not creating much at the other end. attacks were being focused down the left, while Jogo was often in lots of space and doing better work on the right. The only shot on goal being a header from Yutaka which was easily caught by their keeper from a Jogo cross.
At times I can’t really see where our goals are going to come from. Kamiyama seems to aim for Yutaka with all kicks forward, who isn’t enough of a target to hold up the ball, with Sueyoshi and Okada playing too deep to have much of a chance of getting 2nd balls when they do bounce down into space.

The pattern repeated into the 2nd half with the game being contested in midfield and from a number of corners for both teams which didn’t amount to anything.
I don’t know what has happened to our short corner routine but this game was crying out for it with a big space at the front of the box and defenders very much in control from crosses.

After 25 minutes of the half JEF took off Fjuita and things started to look a bit more relaxed for Avispa, especially when their Captain also went off injured, but the best chance of the game did slide pat the near post after JEF’s #9 played a clever through ball for their substitute striker to slide centimetres past the post.

Yusuke took a lot of abuse from the Ultras, which I was quite surprised about. At the start of the warm-up he came and bowed to the crowd and had been at Avispa for a long time before he left. My understanding is that he had plenty of offers to leave previously, and having just had a kid he has to think about more than the club if offers continue to come in.

The game fizzled out to a fairly hearty 0-0 draw. A result which neither club will be that happy about, but on a day when Kofu lost isn’t too bad.
Hatamoto looked great in defence after a very dodgy first 5 minutes, and Okada started to look like a pretty intelligent utility midfielder. Naruoka and Hatamoto both went off injured late, but hopefully both are nothing too serious.

Gainare next, and we should have happier times then.

Posted March 20, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights, Match Reports

vs. JEF United (preview)   Leave a comment

From our first defeat of the season at Shonan we have a 2nd tough game as my tip for J2 Champions JEF United come to Level-5.

The last time I saw JEF play was probably one of the most memorable Avispa games as they came back from a goal down to win 2-1 with Jogo scoring a great winner in pouring rain to destabilise JEF’s promotion push and help us go up. It would be nice to get the same today, and with a nice clear day the conditions are going to be better, but I think it will be another tough one.

Avispa News
The biggest issue for Avispa is in defence. With Tsutsumi being sent off they need someone to partner Kobara. Kazuki and Koga haven’t even made the bench recently so I’m guessing are too injured, we could try Omata or Wada there, or bring in Miyaji or Hatamoto.
Of those choices I’d love to see Hatamoto play. It is a tough full debut, but players like Endo at Shonan and Nara at Consadole have shown what a young player can do if given a chance.
I’m hoping that Kim is brought back for Omata as I believe it was a tactical choice to not use him in Shonan, and at home we need the more attacking option.
Okada seems to be favoured to Sueyoshi at the moment, and the attack will stay unchanged.

JEF United news
Will Yusuke play? I think he would get a decent reception from the Avispa fans, but I wouldn’t like to see what would happen if he scored.
While it is too early for Samir, I don’t know what the current status for JEF’s exciting new signing Reginaldo is. If we manage to avoid him then that is probably a really good thing.
I’d like to see there huge Norwegian just for interest’s sake, but think he is still injured and for the good of our defence and Kamiyama’s issues with crosses that is quite good too.

My Prediction
Avispa 1 – 3 JEF United

Unfortunately I think we will lose our second game in a row. JEF have what I think is the best squad in the division, and our defence is a mess. If Omata plays instead of Kim I don’t think we will even score.

Posted March 20, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Shonan Bellmare (report/youtube)   Leave a comment

Shonan 3 – 1 Avispa

Unfortunately I had school graduation on the day of this game so I missed it. I watched a recording of the first half, and found a youtube video of our late consolation goal but haven’t tried too hard to watch the rest having got a bad result.

In pouring rain, and in front of only 3500 fans Shonan started the game looking like the better team, but Avispa were certainly still in the game and either team could have scored the opening goal.

Towards the end of the half Shonan’s winger got the ball after Kobara dwelled on the ball for too long and allowed himself to be dispossessed.
With plenty of space on the left wing he crossed a dangerous ball into the middle which Tsutsumi reached for but ended up reaching too far and hitting with his hand. Picking up a second yellow card he can’t really complain about being sent off, and should think more about his first booking where he spent too long on the ball and tripped his opponent after being dispossessed himself.

With 10 men for all of the second half, and a goal down from the penalty Avispa were always going to be in trouble, and duly conceded a 2nd goal before scoring one of their own.
Omata playing at left-back in place of Kim Min Je launched a high ball into the box where Sakata got his head onto the ball and laid it back for Okada to strike at goal. After an initial save Sakata was on hand to bundle home the rebound.

Pushing forward in search for an equaliser they then conceded a 3rd to ruin my pre-match prediction, and suffer their first defeat of the season.

Posted March 20, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights, Match Reports