Friday, February 23, 2007

2007 Preview-Consadole Sapporo

2006 Season 20 wins 12 ties 16 losses 77 goals 67 goals against +10

I think THE WHO said it best when they sang "WE WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN". Actually, I probably was the only one outside of Sapporo to pick Consadole to win J2 last year. The Owls ended last year as a feel good story, advancing to the final 4 in the coveted Emperor's Cup, against big odds (and presumably the wishes of the JFA) before falling to Cup also-ran Gamba Osaka. Now the team embarks on a complete identity change with the departure of coach Maasaki Yanagishita. In comes former Omiya head man Toshiya Miura and his penchant for cautious, defensive (some might say incredibly boring) football. Miura was criticized for a lackluster 2006 campaign in which a team of highly rated signings failed to completely mesh and limped to a 12th place finish after a prolonged early autumn slump. Before this, Miura was tabbed as a dark horse National team coach candidate for the future. his J2 credentials are beyond reproach, leading a 2004 Omiya squad on a miraculous 26 game unbeaten streak to close out the season and gain promotion to J1.
One thing Miura is used to is not having a star striker, and his Sapporo experience will start out in those circumstances with the loss of the mercurial and prolific ball of rage,Hulk, who takes his gaudy stats, his pure talent, and his huge temper to Tokyo. Another big loss is in the backfield with the return of Kenichi Kaga to Jubilo Iwata.
Miura plans on switching to a 4-4-2. To help anchor the D, Sapporo brought in former Cerezo man Bruno Quadros, who had a nightmare season after a bright 2005. Takuya Takagi reunites with his old coach after a personally successful stint at Thespa Kusatsu. Not a move that makes huge sense considering last year's starter was 24 and the new man, Yuya Sato comes in at a hearty 20 years of age. Fianlly, Consadole has brought in a couple of unproven Brazilian players with big upside in FW Davi and MF Caue.
In honor of the new coach, I'll take a cautious approach and pick them to finish 2007 the same way they finished 2006. They are a young squad with a ton of potential who just needs the right coach. Whether or not Miura is that man remains to be seen.
Projected Lineup 4-4-2
GK Yuya Sato
DF Hiroyuki Nishuima
DF Yushi Soda
DF Bruno Quadros
DF Tomohiko Ikeuchi
MF Masaya Nishitani
MF Caue
MF Makoto Sunakawa
MF Hironobu Haga
FW Shinya Aikawa
FW Kengo Ishii
Prediction 6th

1 comment:

Ultranippon said...

Despite they lost Hulk I think they will be fighting for returning to J1 if Miura makes a solid team as made with Omiya Ardija. Consadole has a lot of talented youngs and now also a good defender as Quadros so Miura has a good team.

I would like Verdy and Consadole goes to J1!