A goal-scorer who can finish with either foot, Masato Kudo was acquired by Vancouver Whitecaps FC as a free transfer on December 29, 2015 after seven years with Hitachi Kashiwa Reysol of Japan’s J1 League. He left Kashiwa Reysol as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer after scoring 91 goals in 247 total appearances, helping his side win the 2011 J1 League Championship. As of December 2015, Kudo has recorded two goals in four senior international appearances for Japan.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
2016: Kudo made 12 starts in 17 regular season appearances in his first MLS season, recording two goals and one assist. He opened his MLS account with a goal and an assist in the Week 10 2-1 win over Portland Timbers to earn an MLS Team of the Week selection. Kudo suffered a fractured jaw injury on May 11, causing him to miss two months of action. In his first appearance back from injury on the July 13 against Real Salt Lake, Kudo's activity in the box led to an own goal by the visitors in the 34th minute. In the following match, Kudo scored his second goal of the season in the 2-2 draw against Orlando City SC.
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
2016: Kudo started both of his two Champions League appearances, scoring one goal versus Central FC on September 28.
2015: Kudo appeared in all 34 regular season matches for Kashiwa Reysol, starting in all but one, and scored 10 goals, second-best on the team. He added one goal in the Emperor's Cup, and a goal in two matches in the J-League Cup. In the AFC Champions League, Kudo found the net four times in nine starts. 2014: Kudo finished second on the team with seven regular season goals, while being the only player to appear in all 34 matches (starting 30 of them). Starting all 10 of his appearances in the J-League Cup, Kudo scored four goals to help Kashiwa Reysol to a semifinal finish. He also played the full 90 minutes in the Suruga Bank Championship versus 2013 Copa Sudamericana champion Lanús. 2013: Kudo had his highest regular season goal total in 2013, leading the team with 19 goals in 33 appearances, starting in all of them. He went on to score two more goals in four appearances in the J-League Cup, helping Kashiwa Reysol to the championship. Kudo also played the full 90 minutes in both the Emperor’s Cup and the Super Cup. He tallied six goals in 12 starts in the AFC Champions League as Kashiwa Reysol reached the semifinals before bowing out to eventual champion Guangzhou Evergrande of the Chinese Super League. 2012: Kudo led Kashiwa Reysol with 13 goals in 33 regular season appearances. In the Emperor’s Cup, Kudo scored a 90th-minute match-winner in the quarterfinal fixture against Omiya Ardija, then recorded the lone-goal in the semifinal win over Yokohama F. Marinos to help Kashiwa Reysol capture the title. He also added two goals in four appearances in the J-League Cup as Kashiwa Reysol reached the semifinal before falling to eventual champion Kashima Antlers. In the AFC Champions League, Kudo made four starts in six appearances. 2011: Kudo scored seven goals in 25 regular season appearances while making 16 starts in Kashiwa Reysol’s J1 League championship campaign. He also made one start in two J-League Cup appearances, and scored two goals in the Emperor's Cup before Kashiwa Reysol was knocked out in the fourth round via shootout. Kudo also scored a goal in three appearances at the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, where they lost in the semifinal to Neymar and Brazilian side Santos FC. 2010: Kudo finished second on the team with 10 goals in 27 appearances in his only year in the J2 League as Kashiwa Reysol won Japan’s second division and promotion to the J1 League. 2009: Kudo made his professional debut as a halftime substitute on October 16 versus Tokyo, then made two more consecutive appearances off the bench.
As of December 2015, Kudo has four senior international caps for Japan, scoring a goal in his debut versus China in the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup, and against Guatemala in a friendly in September 2013. Kudo was also previously selected to the Japan U-21 squad for the 2010 Asian Games, making three appearances for the Gold Medal-winning Japanese side.
Born in Tokyo, the right-footed forward began his soccer career with the Kashiwa Reysol U-12 in northwestern Chiba Prefecture, Japan