2006 season (J1) 6 wins 9 ties 19 losses 44 goals 70 goals against -26
Satoshi Tsunami always seems to be the right man in the wrong place. 2 years ago, he was the coach for a Vegalta Sendai squad that missed out on being the team that had a chance to knock Kashiwa around in a promotion match instead of cinderella squad Venforet Kofu. After a slow start, he got death threats and things hurled at him. He then got a one way ticket out of town. Last year, he was the number 2 behind a very green Rui Ramos, who seemed to get the job more on personality and presence and less on coaching acumen. While the team struggled, Tsunami quietly kept the reserve players heads in the game. Nozomi Hiroyama, Satoshi Nagano, Taisei Fujita, and Masaki Saito all toiled in the netherworlds of practice matches and came through when their names were finally called. Tsunami had a hand in this.
Now, Tsunami finds himself with a team that is two years removed from a last minute crusher against FC Tokyo which sent them into a downward spiral and cost them a championship. Last years squad was a disaster, not even having the pride or professionalism to even fight for a chance to play Kobe and save their place in J1. To put it bluntly, they quit. The good news is that management cleaned house, either getting rid of or letting players go to other destinations. 15 players are out, most notably the forward combo of Akinori Nishimura and Yoshito Okubo. In their stead comes a pair of U-23 strikers by the names of Takuya Kokeguchi and Yasuhito Morishima.
The midfield took a hit when Hiroshi Nanami (Verdy) and Tomi Shimomura (Chiba) decided to leave for J1 destinations. Imports Bruno Quadros (Consadole Sapporo) and Pingo also were let go after long stints with the club.
Tsunami will have to rely upon a young core to carry them through the season supplemented by a few old hands. Hiroaki Morishima is the lone holdover from the Yanmar days and comes back for one more go in pink and purple. The 2 time World Cup veteran will be relied upon to keep the squad on an even keel. Ze Carlos is back for another year on the wing and is joined by young compatriot Ale from Botafogo. Takeshi Hamada rejoins the squad after a 2 year loan from Sagan Tosu to round out the midfield. Finally, Tsunami grabbed one of his old Verdy guys in Masayuki Yanagisawa to help out the defense. Of course, the last Verdy defender to head to Cerezo was Takuya Yamada and we all know how that turned out.
This team resembles the 2006 Verdy squad in innumerable ways. Putting them in the 7th spot seems jsutifiable. Let's just hope for coach Tsunamis sake that the team treats him like verdy treated Ramos after a stinker of a campaign
Projected Lineup 4-4-2
GK Motohiro Yoshida
DF Kota Fujimoto
DF Kazuya Maeda
DF Kenjiro Ezoe
DF Masayuki Yanagisawa
DF Ze Carlos
DF Takeshi Hamada
DF Hiroaki Morishima
FW Takuya Kokeguchi
FW Tatsuya Furuhashi
Prediction 7th place