Monday, 16 January 2012

Agent Orange: Awaiting Year Eight

It's been about two months since I've written and there has been a reason for that. In mid-November I was sitting in the supporters' section for the Kashima Antlers game in a very cold rainstorm, after being questioned for a good five minutes about the validity of my season seat pass. Earlier in the day we had locked up our position in J1 so I had hoped that maybe Jun Suzuki would dip into the bench and shake things up.

Instead he opted for a very "defensive oriented" squad with attack-minded players like Naoki Ishihara and Kota Ueda left off the starting XI for Lee Chun Soo and Shin Kanazawa. Yosuke Kataoka, Daigo Watanabe and Hayato Hashimoto retained their starting spots despite putting in consistently substandard performances. No starts for young guys like Shintaro Shimizu or Taisuke Miyazaki despite the game being meaningless. The sixteenth home game of the season came and went and we blew a fortunate lead for the umpteenth time. I had pretty much lost interest in the 2011 edition of the squad.

I had planned on going down to Sanfrecce Hiroshima the following weekend but decided to pull out at the last minute because I didn't really want to spend more money on the team. Again, I was hoping that with Rafael ruled out maybe Naoki or some of the kids would get a start... no. Instead Suzuki doubled down on the mediocrity and opted for erstwhile captain Chikara Fujimoto to go along with a squad that rivaled 2007 in terms of negativity. Long story short, Kataoka commited two awful fouls which led to him being shown the door and Sanfrecce gaining a two-goal lead on their way to an easy win.

The last game of the season against Ventforet Kofu was enjoyable because Chun Soo was out with injury and Kataoka was out with stupidity. And I was angry. We had possibly our best outing of the year because we had eleven guys who just played and attacked. Seventeen games it took the squad to just play good, attractive, attacking football. I just sat there wondering why we couldn't do that all year... and then Chikara came in. For whatever reason, the team stopped attacking on their own and focused on getting him one last goal. The end of game ceremonies all centered on him which, while not surprising, kind of annoyed me.

Since then I have held my tongue because a lot of people felt sad over losing our "captain". I am not in that camp. I'll say it out loud. I'm glad Chikara Fujimoto is gone. And I don't care who knows about it. I'm also glad that Lee Chun Soo is gone. If that makes me less of a fan, so be it - but there was a cancer on our team that started with those two killing our offense every chance they got.

It's been a good offseason for the most part, if only for the fact that we've subtracted some guys who were more concerned with themselves over the team, but I'm not sure if we have enough to do much more than we did last year. I guess I like the Cho Young Cheol signing - combining him with Ueda and Keigo Higashi gives us a very good midfield on paper and an extreme upgrade over the Fujimoto, Kanazawa, Hashimoto and Kohei Tokita midfield of 2009 that we all complained about. I know nothing about Carlinhos except that Cerezo Osaka seemed to want him a lot, which is good if you look at Martinez and Amaral as examples of central mids they targeted in the past.

Kosuke Kikuchi adds another central defender, Takumi Shimohira adds another sideback and Yu Hasegawa gets to be the guy who makes spot starts for Rafael. I'm angry that we lost Ishihara because our coach is a fucking dope, but you know it's probably better that he's gone because he wasn't gonna play... because our coach is a fucking dope.

I guess the team is better but deep down, I have a sick feeling that it will take one bad loss before Kataoka is stinking up our back line and a couple more for Hayato to absolutely clog up our offensive flow like a Roppongi toilet after happy hour. The news that Kim Young Gwon has extended his contract is good because although he might not be a great player at least he takes up one of the back four spots. That narrows the odds of Kataoka starting.

Anyway, it's been two months and I'm still trying to find motivation for 2012. I'm seriously debating whether or not I'll buy a season seat.

Happy New Year.

Orange, blah blah blah, hey opening up against FC Tokyo at home! Like our chances!! Not fucking really!!!



Tiago Bontempo 16 January 2012 at 22:16  

I can't see anyone doing better than Omiya this off-season. Shimohira, Carlinhos and Cho Young-Cheol are GREAT aditions.

Furtho 17 January 2012 at 17:34  

I think that we doubt Suzuki's ability to use the players that he has in the best way. For example, Cho and Higashi may be good young players, but can Suzuki play both of them in the same team? How is it that such mediocre players as Kataoka and Hashimoto keep getting contracts - and keep getting first team starting positions? etc. Suzuki has never demonstrated that he is good at this sort of decision-making, so this is why we are not so positive about the new season. Of course, I hope that we are wrong.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP