J.League Match Preview: Urawa face tall task of stopping FC Tokyo's Araki

J.League Match Preview: Urawa face tall task of stopping FC Tokyo's Araki

A year ago, Urawa Reds had the league’s best defense and Ryotaro Araki was struggling with injuries. Now, the Reds’ defense is looking leaky and Araki is both healthy and one of the league’s hottest players.

That sets the stage for Wednesday’s clash between Urawa and FC Tokyo, with both teams gunning for points when they meet at 19:30 JST in a match that will be streamed live on JLeague.co.

Urawa’s defensive decline has been a surprise. They brought back their top defensive players from a squad that had proven themselves both domestically and internationally, but the adjustment under new boss Per-Mathias Høgmo hasn’t gone smoothly and they’ve allowed eight goals through five matches. They’ll need to sort that out for their trip to the capital.

There, Araki will be waiting for them. The 22-year-old has put the last two injury-plagued seasons behind him and is looking like the teenager who scored double-digit goals for Kashima Antlers. Now on loan at FC Tokyo, he’s flying again.

Araki has four goals already this season, second most in the league. His terrific movement and timing is causing opposing defenses serious problems and he has the cutthroat finishing to make them pay.

Will Araki keep it rolling? Or will the Reds defense return to last season’s form?

We’ll find out Wednesday from the Japan National Stadium for The Kokuritsu Day, streaming live on JLeague.co!