A Squirrels second string played a friendly against neighbouring JFL side Tochigi SC at their Akiba Forest training ground on Sunday. The team, including a number of youth team players, notched up a 4-1 win that was notable for an appearance and goal by long-term injury victim Naoto Sakurai - the first time the former Tokyo Verdy 1969 man has played any kind of competitive football this year - and for a debut by current triallist Akira Misu.
Although evidently not yet match-fit, 24-year-old Misu impressed in a defensive midfield role, appearing comparable to a Yosuke Kataoka - but seemingly with superior ball control than Kataoka, who has generally been one of the disappointments of the season with his displays in the Ardija first team. Elsewhere, Manabu Wakabayashi played an unfamiliar game in central defence but emerged with some credit, while the increasingly out of his depth Salles featured alongside Misu in midfield.
Naoto Sakurai!!! Actually scoring!!! A goal!!!
The four seventeen-year-old Omiya youth players to participate in the game were defender Koji Hata, previously with Sayama Jr Youth FC; defender Kosuke Kume, previously with Tokyo Light Years; midfielder Yoshiyuki Sugie, previously with Seiritsu Zebra FC; and defender Mizuho Tsubouchi, previously with Kashiwa Reysol Jr Youth.