Sunday 19 July 2020

Vs Yokohama FC (away) 18/7/20 - J League match 5

Yokohama FC 1 - 5 Kawasaki Frontale

Hmmm, where to start with this one? This was another match I watched on DAZN so I’m not going to go into too much detail about it. 5-1 though! But it was never really a 5-1 and Yokohama can feel a bit aggrieved to have lost by that scoreline I think. They were by no means the worst team we’ve played so far this year. For large parts of the game they totally bossed us. Their young striker Saito made our defense look pretty bad, but somehow we ended up winning by four clear goals. Football is weird! They had more possession than us. We looked like we couldn’t pass, especially in the midfield. (Normally we complain about the length of the grass when this happens, but I didn’t hear anything like that mentioned this time). Particularly at the start of the second half, they were swarming all over us. But the shot count probably tells a different story. Apparently, we had 24 shots to their 10. But yeah, they were still really unlucky I thought. Our second goal to retake the lead was a penalty that looked a bit soft to say the least. Our third was another penalty which I think was undeniable. And then after that they seemed to go to pieces at the back, the rapid collapse of the strength of their position in the match perhaps has a serious effect on the confidence of such a young team. But, you know, in the four games since the league restarted we have scored 2, 3, 4 and now 5 goals in a game, so clearly something is going right for us on the pitch. Normally this kind of game would be a banana skin for us, and it so nearly could have been. But the two penalties and our first two substitutions really changed the momentum of the game. The subsequent substitutions probably changed things too. They certainly changed our understanding of where people were playing but we got away with them. Alternatively, maybe Yokohama’s hard pressing for the first two thirds of the game caused them to eventually run out of steam. Whichever way you look at it, this result would have been unbelievable after they equalised and we really dodged a bullet and by doing so fell into a pot of gold, to totally fabricate a new proverb.

Everything was so confusing about this game that I’m just going to briefly mention a few players and then that will do with this post. Kobayashi made his comeback and I almost predicted perfectly on twitter beforehand the timing of him replacing Damiao as our first sub. Damiao did alright I thought, and I wasn’t really sure he should have been the first change, but Oniki clearly loves Kobayashi and doesn’t want to play him on the right so it wasn’t so much of a surprise. And Kobayashi did pretty well considering he hasn’t played recently. Thankfully he put away the penalty as that is not always a given and a miss could have really changed the way his game went. His second goal hit the defender twice, one on the hand, on its way in, but I reckon it was on target anyway. It really seems that he gives the team a mental lift when he comes on and although I wish Oniki would play him on the right, I can’t deny that when he comes on for Damiao in the middle he does quite often really do the business in a way that our number 9 still isn’t quite able to. Hasegawa perhaps ran out of puff a little in this game and the difference when Mitoma came on was pretty noticeable. Mitoma immediately grabbed the ball and drove right at the Yokohama goal. And then proceeded to continue doing so. There seemed to be some real power and goal focus in his play and whilst it might not be the way we normally play,  it did stir up some excitement. The midfield three seemed once again to not be doing that great and Yamane again didn’t seem to be at his best showing flashes of good play but flashes with plenty of average or worse play around them. We are still clearly short of numbers at the back, but it doesn’t seem to be a worry for Oniki. I think perhaps that his solution to the problem of us having way too many midfielders in our squad is to just play some of them in defence. The goal we conceded once again seemed to be because our defence was in a bit of a mess, but the fact that our goal difference after five games is +11 means that it’s a bit churlish of me to complain about defending. In spite of the score though, this surprisingly wasn’t that much fun to watch for long periods. We were lucky to get this result, and it took a lot of sloppiness before we managed to click. But click we did and on we go. Next up, Sendai away on Wednesday. I always like that fixture but it will probably not be the same sitting at home on my sofa watching it.  Hopefully we can continue this nice run of results though. Go Frontale!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya

GK 27. TANNO Kenta

MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa (on for YAMANE 84')
MF 18. MITOMA Kaoru (on for HASEGAWA 60')
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto (on for OSHIMA 84')
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for NOBORIZATO 90+6')

My Frontale Man Of The Match

Was a bit confused over who to give this too, but then the clouds cleared and it became obvious it should be…

IENAGA Akihiro - looked full of energy for the whole ninety minutes in spite of his advancing years and was one player who seemed to not be messing things up when we were having our dodgy spell not making the basic errors  that others were. And this maybe also makes up for me not giving it to him when he scored twice against Kashima.


WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 28' 0-1
TASHIRO (Yokohama) 59' 1-1
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 75' PEN 1-2
IENAGA (Frontale) 78' PEN 1-3
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 83' 1-4
TANIGUCHI (Frontale) 90+6' 1-5



  1. This might get me banned but I dare say I've been impressed with what Oniki has gotten out of the team so far this season. I thought the poor performances of many veterans last season as well as the exit of contributors like Abe and Nara signaled the end of the title window, and also held a dim opinion of the coach's inability to coax steadier play out of the team and hold older players accountable.

    Needless to say, when the preseason articles touted Frontale as a 2020 title contender I was dubious. A couple of new rookies, another turn of the right-back revolving door, and a new formation didn't sound much like a panacea to me. So far I'd have to say the previews were right - Damião looks well integrated, the wide attackers and fullbacks are combining to create fluid positional play, and the inverted triangle is showcasing the best of the midfielders' considerable talents. The additions are contributing right away, and we are probably fortunate to have secured Mitoma's return commitment before European scouts could swipe him on the basis of his U-23 NT performances.

    Hope this continues!

  2. Would never ban or delete a real comment! Haha. I always try to start the season behind Oniki but in recent years it has been tricky to keep up the positivity. Things seem to be going well so far this year, but I’m not sure if that’s because we’re doing well or the other teams have been rubbish. Time will tell, I guess!

    I wonder how long Oniki will persist with Damiao up front as he really seems to love playing Kobayashi there and for some reason, Yu never seems to be put on the right. Seems like it’s always Damiao or Kobayashi for Oniki. We’ll see I suppose. His team selections have been pretty consistent so far this year and as I’ve said in previous seasons, Oniki does seem to be the kind of guy who finds something that works and then sticks with it resolutely. Hopefully we have a plan B this year as we are a couple of injuries away from potentially having some serious problems at the back. And the schedule will mean that there will need to be a few more players involved this time round. Fingers crossed though!

  3. And I should have said, intriguing user name....

  4. Haha, honestly I just logged in with my Google account and have no idea about the origin of the username other than that it's apparently the title of a blog I had around 2007.

    I think they (Oniki? The club management?) may have learned a bit from past mistakes. I too would like to see Kobayashi and Damiao together, but they seem to have have terrible chemistry on the pitch...and perhaps utilizing Yu as a substitute striker is better than asking him to run a bunch of kilometers on the wing coming off an injury. They've done more to properly integrate Damiao this year, but IMO his technical limitations mean that he just won't work that well in some matches, so it's nice to be able to break the emergency glass case and roll out a former league top scorer.

    Now that you point it out it is a bit ridiculous to only have two "real" center backs in the squad with professional caps. I guess Kurumaya has looked okay and Yamamura can do a job, plus the transfer window is coming up in a week.