Seeing as I can't ever seem to mention Yamagata without bringing up that game, I may as well get it out the way early: MONTEDIO YAMAGATA SPANKED LITTLE JUBILO 6-2 ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE SEASON RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY EYES, AND I NEARLY SHIT MYSELF WITH MIRTH.
OK, that's that done.
Now onto the game in question: match day three of the 2009 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup. Due to the colourful way the tournament is organised this year, this is our and Yamagata's second game, but Kashiwa who currently sit top of the group have already played two. But they won't play tomorrow, so we can go top with a victory. Click here to let Wikipedia explain it all for you. All we need to worry about at this stage is grabbing three points.
This will be our eighth game in a month, so perhaps even above and beyond the fact it's the Nabisco group stage, expect to see some unfamiliar faces in the starting eleven tomorrow. I'm hoping to see Kaito in goal again after last Saturday. Having just come back from a long spell on the bench it'll help him regain his match sharpness. I also want to see Tsujio at the back, and Nagai start up front. Genki on the bench would also be nice. I've not seen him since he smashed the bar against JEF in the Emperor's Cup last year.
And, hey, why not put a couple of kids on the bench? Dong-Sub has been called up to the South Korean national team at under 15, 18 and, this year, under 20 levels, so I'd love to see him get a run out if things are going well. Perhaps that's a big if given recent weeks, but you never know.
This is our first ever meeting with Montedio "6-2" Yamagata, although they'll be back in a month for their league fixture. As for conditions, I'm pleased, no, I'm happy, no, I'm ABSOLUTELY BLOODY ECSTATIC to report that after Reysol, Chiba and Oita, the forecast is CLEAR for tomorrow. In hindsight, we got off lightly against Oita where the drizzle held off for the majority of the night. The following day torrential rain lashed Shizuoka all day long. If nothing else tomorrow, it'll just be nice novelty not to have to wring out my socks at full time.
We've not seen a plus 10000 evening crowd in the Nabisco for nearly a decade, and the last time wasn't even at Nihondaira. We drew in over 12000 to the wonderfully grassy Kusanagi Athletics Ground, in the centre of town and a short walk from Higashi Shizuoka Station, against Nagoya back in 2000. Will we see a five figure crowd tomorrow? I hope so, but I doubt it. Therein lies 'Daira's problem, but that's a whole other "special feature" to come when I get round to finishing it. In the meantime, just consider if the Kusanagi and surrounding sports grounds were redeveloped into a spanking new 40000 seater ground - with roof - and how many we would then get through the gates each week, even on rainy days! Hey, I can dream. :)
So yeah, three points tomorrow please, lads.
BARRY WRITES... I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...