Thursday, March 01, 2007

2007 Preview Avispa Fukuoka

2006 Season (J1) 5 wins 12 ties 17 losses 32 goals 56 goals against -24
After battling for a spot to fight for survival against 3rd place Vissel Kobe, Avispa Fukuoka missed out on staying in the big league after drawing with Kobe. An archaic system allowed Kobe to advance on away goals in a fickle and boring series. The upsode to this is a change in managers to former JEF legend and World Cup champ Pierre Littbarski who found success and criticism in Australia while serving his time as Sydney FC manager.
While the back line was respectable, the attack of Fukuoka was severely lacking, scoring a league low 32 goals in 34 games. To make matters worse (relatively speaking) Fukuoka saw it's two main strikers (Kazunori Iio-Verdy and Mitsunori Yabuta-Yokohama FC) head north to Kanto. Littbarski is hoping that new imports Lincoln and Rafael can help jump start the offense. A bigger key to the offense might be the returning Tatsunori Hisanaga from Omiya.
The defense will look a bit different as well, with the departures of D Mid Naoya Saeki (Omiya) and DF Mitsuru Chiyotandra. Littbarski is hoping that returning DF Satoshi Nagano and his former Sydney back Alvin Ceccoli will be able to fill in the blanks.
Finally in somewhat of an inadvertent trade, Kashiwa swaps Erickson Noguchipint for Avispa's former keeper Yuichi Mizugaya.
It's gonna be tight, that's for sure.
Projected Lineup 4-3-3
GK Ryuichi Kamiyama
DF Alvin Ceccoli
DF Toru Miyamoto
DF Shinya Kawashima
DF Tatsunori Yamagata
MF Kiyokazu Kudo
MF Takanori Nunobe
MF Tadamichi Hisanaga
FW Alex
FW Lincoln
FW Yusuke Tanaka
Prediction 3rd place
Goru No Ura update
Our guest columnist asked me to relay that Kyoto reacquired Makoto Kakuda from Nagoya to strengthen the back 4. I still think they'll finish 2nd but the lad does add depth and might be starting.
Tomorrow is a very special Verdy preview and pregame primer!

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