Well, I think I attempted this last year to mixed results, but here goes again.........
HEAT INDEX team of March- Consadole Sapporo
I chose Sapporo not because they were the best or most talented team this year (they aren't). I have been impressed with the string of clean sheets they have strung together. The Miura system of lockdown, slowdown defense is boring but seeming effective and the play of GK Takahiro Takagi and a back 4 led by Bruno Quadros have been downright stifling. A little surprised that they have been able to change their stripes so quickly. Could they be this years Yokohama FC?
1. Tokyo Verdy- second in the standings but a game in hand. Tying Vegalta in Sendai was huge but did Cerezo show a weakness by muscling up on Hulk?
2. Vegalta Sendai- How's this little factoid? 3-0-0 on the road and 0-2-0 at home. The 1-1 tie to Thespa was inexcusable.
3. Consadole Sapporo- Almost tempted to put them above Sendai. After a stumble against Kyoto, they have exerted their will on 4 opponents. 4 less than explosive opponents, mind you......but 4 skunks in a row is good.
4. Shonan Bellmare-If it wasn't for a bit of unfortunate play in the first game, they would be undefeated. I'm glad I don't have to watch this team every game because they are well on their way to breaking the record for 0-0 ties.
5. Avispa Fukuoka- This seems to be a squad that capitalizes on playing lesser clubs, which is a good quality to have. However they need to show that they can knock off one of the bigger clubs.
6. Thespa Kusatsu- After a putrid opener, Thespa has played credible in the past 4 games. Kazuki Sakurada has been great in the playmaker role and even Koji Maatsura has pitched in.
7. Montedio Yamagata- Perfect place for them because they are the epitomy of mediocre. Good defense/no offense. It's hold tight and pray for 1 goal wins.
8. Kyoto Sanga FC- Unbelievably bad start for the purple nurples. Our friend Gora has been calling for the head of Nunobe. Maybe just the porno mustache that he sports. Anyhow, I don't see the potent strike force of Paulinho and Andre being silent forever.
9. Sagan Tosu- 4 points without any contributions from new signing Anderson. I'm not sure what hurt more, losing Arai or losing Schneider.
10. Tokushima Vortis- They've been lucky to get the softer squads early but Vegalta, Verdy, and Fukuoka await and Vortis should find themselves hitting rock bottom.
11. Ehime FC- I give em credit for going young but why would you put your most potent goal scorer on the bench? Overcoaching kills you almost every time!
12. Cerezo Osaka- Huge last minute win against Kyoto. Could it be the catalyst for better things for Tsunami and friends?
13. Mito Hollyhock- Sorry Vendo, had to put somebody here. The one statistic that jumps out at ya is the 0-0-3 -6 home record. Back to back crowds of under 2000 as well.