While Andres Iniesta has not made the matchday squad at either of Vissel Kobe's matches in the Kanto area since his midsummer arrival, his name alone has drawn thousands of fans who might not normally make the trip to western Tokyo or central Saitama.

A combined 100,000-plus fans attended Vissel's away games against FC Tokyo on Aug. 5 and Urawa Reds on Sunday. While some foreign fans were lucky enough to acquire tickets before each match sold out, others were forced to seek out online resellers.

"I always wanted to come to a game here, so we had to go the secondary market," Los Angeles Galaxy supporter Miguel Cabrera told The Japan Times outside Saitama Stadium before Sunday's match. "I didn't know when the tickets were sold out that Vissel had Iniesta."