Episode 256 - Glory for Urawa, Relief for Iwata

December 12, 2018

Our final episode of the 2018 J.League season features Sean Carroll and Dan Orlowitz chatting about Urawa's win over Sendai in the Emperor's Cup Final, and then in Part 2 Stuart Smith joins Dan to discuss Iwata's J1/J2 Playoff Final victory over Tokyo Verdy.

We begin Part 1 with a brief check on how both Vegalta and Reds made it through to Sunday's showpiece, before running through the events at Saitama Stadium and wondering if this is the start of a new era of success for Urawa under serial winner Oswaldo Oliveira (to 24:00). We then wish Kashima all the best at the Club World Cup, before finishing with Sean and Dan's picks for J1 Player of the Year, and our choices for the top flight Best XI (to 38:50).

Then in Part 2 we start with Dan's thoughts on his first experience of the Yamaha Stadium, before moving on to Iwata's win, with goals towards the end of each half proving too much for Verdy to overcome. Are the playoffs, as they are currently constructed, fair? After Dan bids us farewell, Stuart and I attempt to answer that question towards the end of the episode, and I manage to not only straddle the fence, but jump from one side to the other on multiple occasions.

Thanks for listening throughout the year, we've done over 40 episodes, featuring 23 different guests, and after a short hiatus - that may be interrupted for some Asian Cup specials - we'll be back to do it all again in 2019.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sean - @seankyaroru

Dan - @aishiterutokyo

Stuart - sushi_football 

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Episode 255 - J1 Matchday 34 & J2 Playoffs

December 5, 2018

It's another ripping episode of J-Talk this week, as Sam Robson guests to put a bow on the 2018 J1 season, and Jon Steele joins us in Part 2 after Tokyo Verdy's latest playoff heroics.

In Part 1 Sam and I begin with Iwata's stunning last minute loss at Kawasaki that condemned them to the relegation playoff game, and then discuss the narrow escapes for Shonan and Nagoya after their 2-2 draw, and Tosu, who survived after a 0-0 draw away at Kashima (to 26:15). We then move on to the other game that had final day implications, Hiroshima's visit to Sapporo and their battle for an ACL spot (to 33:45), before wrapping up the other five games from the Matchday 34 goalfest (to 1:00:30).

Then Jon, who was at Mitsuzawa for the Yokohama FC vs Tokyo Verdy playoff game, hops on board to discuss Verdy's stunning stoppage time win (to 1:23:50), before Sam and Jon preview the Iwata v Verdy final this Saturday, focusing on how both teams might approach it, and the key players from each side that could have a big impact on proceedings (to 1:42:10). We finish off Part 2, and the podcast, with a brief mention of the final day of the J3 season, and pay tribute to the retiring Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, and also Yuji Nakazawa, who looks set to leave Yokohama F.Marinos, while also mentioning this Wednesday's Emperor's Cup semi finals.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sam - @FRsoccerSam

Jon - @J2KantoBites

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Episode 254 - J1 Matchday 33 & J2 Playoffs

November 28, 2018

This bumper episode of J-Talk features Sam Robson and Lionel Piguet on J1, and Steve Fryer on the J2 Playoffs.

In a massive Part 1, Sam and Lionel weigh in on the Madness at Nihondaira on Saturday afternoon, where Shimizu and Kobe drew 3-3, but the game hit the headlines (and news bulletins in Japan) for the chaotic scenes in 19 minutes of second half stoppage time (to 16:30). We move on to Kashiwa's shocking relegation, and what the future might hold for Reysol down in J2 (to 27:20), before discussing the four teams trying to stay out of 16th and the relegation playoff spot - Nagoya and Shonan ahead of their final day showdown at the Mizuho Stadium (to 32:00), and Tosu and Iwata, while I make a right hash of trying to explain all of the permutations involving the four teams (to 42:00).

My two guests give praise to champions Kawasaki, and their picks for J1 Player of the Year (to 52:00), before we move on to the battle for the other ACL places - with a special cameo from noted clairvoyant Scott McIntyre (to 1:03:50). We finish off our Matchday 33 wrap with praise for Gamba Osaka and their nine match winning streak (to 1:12:00), and briefly chat about the Emperor's Cup semi finals (to 1:18:45) and the national team (to 1:27:50).

Then in Part 2 Steve discusses Omiya's disappointing performance in the playoff loss to ten-man Tokyo Verdy on Sunday and how Ardija's squad might look in 2019 after their failure to secure promotion, while we look ahead to Yokohama FC vs Verdy this coming Sunday.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sam - @FRsoccerSam

Lionel - @lionelpiguet

Steve - @ardija01talk 

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Episode 253 - J2 Final Day Drama

November 21, 2018

After a tense final day of the J2 season, that saw Matsumoto crowned champions at the last, Stuart Smith, Jon Steele and Charlie Houghton returned to the pod to wrap up the thrilling, but hardly goal-packed, climax to the second tier campaign.

We begin by paying tribute to the champions, and their fellow automatically promoted side Oita, before moving on to wrap up the other games that had an impact on the playoff places. A preview of Sunday's first game of the playoffs between Omiya and Tokyo Verdy follows, before we finish by looking at the bottom two, and Japan's 1-1 draw with Venezuela last Friday.

#AUDIO ISSUE# A few times throughout the episode it appears my guests are speaking as if on speed, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case, and have put it down to bugs in our four-way Skype connection.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Charlie - @FRsoccerCharlie

Jon - @J2KantoBites

Stuart - @sushi_football 

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Episode 252 - Kawasaki Are J1 Champions Again

November 15, 2018

Neil Debnam and Dan Orlowitz guest on this, our second episode of the week, to revel in Kawasaki's second straight J1 Championship.

We begin with events at the Yanmar Stadium on Saturday, where Frontale were crowned champions despite losing 2-1 to Cerezo Osaka, after Hiroshima's latest loss, at home against Sendai, secured them the title with two games to play. We move on to what the future might hold for Kawasaki, and what the coach Toru Oniki can do to take them forward next season (to 36:55).

We then move on to round up all of the other games from J1 Matchday 32 (to 53:00), and finish with mentions of the Emperor's Cup (to 56:20) and the Japan National Team.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Neil - @frontalerabbit

Dan - @aishiterutokyo 

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Episode 251 - Kashima’s ACL Triumph & J2 Climax

November 14, 2018

Sean Carroll, Jon Steele and Steve Barme guest on this, our first of two J-Talk podcasts this week.

In Part 1 Sean shares his fascinating experience of being pitchside at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran for the second leg of the ACL Final this past Saturday, when Kashima did the J.League proud by winning their first ever Asian Champions League title. Not for the squeamish, Sean's tales of being in the city in the lead up to the game are terrific, and he goes into great detail on the had-to-be-there atmosphere in one of the world's great sporting cauldrons. Oh, and bumping into Zico in the airport on his way home (to 28:30).

Then in Part 2, Jon Steele and Steve Barme recap Omiya's uninspiring season and the results for J2's top seven teams in the weekend's Matchday 41 (to 47:20), then from 59:00 we launch feet first into a preview of Saturday's final round, complete with predictions for the title and which of the top seven will miss out on the playoffs.

#PROGRAMMING NOTE# Part 2 of this episode was intended to be a celebration of Kawasaki's second straight J1 title, and Neil Debnam and Dan Orlowitz guested for a full hour on Tuesday night, but technical difficulties (me forgetting to press record) meant all that great chat vanished into the ether. Neil and Dan have kindly agreed to record again on Wednesday night, so a bonus, J1-only episode of J-Talk is coming later in the week (hopefully Thursday).

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sean - @seankyaroru

Jon - @J2KantoBites

Steve - @AgentOrange2009

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Episode 250 - ACL Final & J1 Matchday 31

November 6, 2018

On this, our 250th episode extravaganza, Scott McIntyre and Matt Davies-Adams guest after a big week of ACL and J1 action.

In Part 1 Scott chats about the terrific atmosphere and Kashima's strong performance in their 2-0 home win in the first leg of the ACL Final against Persepolis on Saturday, and also what awaits the Ibaraki side in the return leg at the cauldron of the Azadi Stadium this weekend (to 20:25). We then shift our attention to the top of J1, where Kawasaki look set to claim their second straight J1 title after their cruise over Kashiwa and Hiroshima's meltdown away at Iwata on Saturday (to 35:00). We follow on from that by discussing the results for teams still in contention for the third ACL spot (to 52:40).

Then in Part 2 Matt discusses Tosu's vital home win over rock-bottom Nagasaki on Sunday and Kobe's huge Lukas Podolski and Andres Iniesta-inspired win away at Nagoya on Saturday, and also the contrasting impacts Fernando Torres and Iniesta have had on their clubs since their arrivals in the summer.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Scott - @mcintinhos

Matt - @MattDaviesAdams 

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Episode 249 - Glory for Shonan & J2 Review

October 31, 2018

On this ripping new episode Sean Galbraith and Steve Fryer guest to review Saturday's Levain Cup Final, then Stuart Smith and Charlie Houghton chat all things J2.

In Part 1 Sean and Steve, who were at opposite ends of Saitama Stadium for Saturday's showpiece, discuss Shonan's impressive performance that saw them lift the league cup for the first time over an under-par Yokohama (to 22:10). We then chat about the run-ins for the two clubs, with both still involved in the #RelegationDogfight (to 37:35), before finishing with Kashima's incredible performance to make it through to their first ACL Final, the first leg of which they will host this Saturday against Persepolis from Iran (to 45:45).

Then in Part 2 Charlie (on debut) and Stuart review the key results from Sunday's J2 Matchday 39, that again saw a lot of movement in and around the top seven (to 1:19:35), before we assess the run-ins for the promotion and playoff contenders (to 1:28:50). We then switch our attention to the foot of the table, where Kyoto and FC Gifu took huge steps to survival with key wins on Sunday, while we also chat about the promotion playoffs format (to 1:46:35), and finish with a check on J3.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sean - @1amSage

Steve - @ardija01talk

Stuart - @sushi_football

Charlie - @FRsoccerCharlie

And via their twitter account, check out the Gol Bezan podcast's terrific preview of the ACL Final.

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Episode 248 - J1 Matchday 30

October 24, 2018

On this week's episode of J-Talk Dan Orlowitz guests to round up all of the results from J1 Matchday 30, while there are also special appearances from our Kawasaki correspondent Neil Debnam, and our Grampus guy Adrian Serna, after huge wins for their respective teams over the weekend.

In Part 1 Neil joins us to talk about the thrilling spectacle that was Frontale's 5-3 home win over an increasingly desperate Kobe side on Saturday night that, coupled with Hiroshima's latest implosion, away at Shimizu, sees Kawasaki four points clear with four to play (to 30:05).

Then Dan and I cover wins for both Osaka clubs, and Urawa over Kashima (to 37:15), before Adrian joins us to chat about sitting in 'the yellow sea' (amongst the Kashiwa fans) and Nagoya's crunch 1-0 win at Reysol last Friday night, as well as his confidence that Grampus will still be in J1 in 2019. We also discuss Tosu, and their prospects now that Massimo Ficcadenti has been shown the door and Fernando Torres is back amongst the goals, while Adrian has concerns that the managerial merry-go-round at Kobe could doom them to finish in the bottom three (to 56:20).

From there Dan and I wrap up the other two games from the matchday (to 1:02:45), and look ahead to Saturday's Levain Cup final, Kashima's ACL semi final 2nd leg vs Suwon and the Emperor's Cup quarter finals, before finishing on a high by discussing Japan's terrific 4-3 win over Uruguay last week.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Dan - @aishiterutokyo

Dan's archive at The Japan Times

Neil - @frontalerabbit

Neil's Frontale Rabbit blog

Adrian - @758adrian

K League United's ACL Writer's Chat - includes podcast at bottom of article

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Episode 247 - J2 Special October 2018

October 16, 2018

It's that time of the month again, when Stuart Smith and Jon Steele return for the latest of our J2 Specials.

We begin with the three all-top half clashes from the weekend's Matchday 37, and then run down the recent form and automatic promotion and playoff prospects for the current top seven. From 59:45 Stuart and Jon give their predictions for both races, and we bring you all you need to know on the implications of Machida (ineligible for promotion) finishing in the top two or top six. Part 1 runs to 1:07:20.

We then move on to a fruitful weekend for most of the bottom four, and their recent form, and from 1:24:50 Jon and Stuart give their predictions for the bottom two, with Part 2 running to 1:28:20.

From there its a check on J3 and FC Ryukyu's romp to the title, and also touch on how Numazu finishing in the top two of the third tier would affect relegation from J2 (to 1:33:55), then we finish with a look at the Levain Cup semi final results, and Japan's win over Panama last Friday night.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Stuart - @sushi_football

Stuart's We Are Gifu blog

Jon - @J2KantoBites

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