Consadole Sapporo gets the nod again as the team of the month. How they are doing it is simple.....DEFENSE. 7 clean sheets in 11 contests. The one time the defense broke down, 4 goals were scored by a less than explosive defense. Even with the two titles, they can't make the top of the heat index. That designation belongs to.........
1. VEGALTA SENDAI- (Last month 2)11 game unbeaten streak to start the season, tying the record with 2003 Champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima and 2005 Crown Winner Kyoto (Purple) Sanga. Game 12 will be tough, with Kyoto hoping to preserve their record.
2. CONSADOLE SAPPORO- (Last month 3) Toshiya Miura always seems to get his squads to start fast out of the gate. He has continued true to form with a first place start to the season. Beware the swoon in August........as an Omiya fan, I've seen it up close.
3. AVISPA FUKUOKA-(Last month 5) Good month for the hornets, going 4-2-1 and picking up points against Consadole in Tokyo. Something bugs me about their performances and Alvin Ceccoli looks like a bust but they have got the results. Alex and Lincoln are forming a potent one-two punch.
4. MONTEDIO YAMAGATA- (Last Month 7) A good month was capped by a 4-0 drubbing of an in form Shonan Bellmare squad. Even with the 4 goal outburst, the scoring has been lackluster. Don't get comfortable.
5. SHONAN BELLMARE-(Last month 4) Hard to drop them a spot after 4 big wins but losing like that to Montedio at home left a bad taste in my mouth. Bellmare is vulnerable in the middle without Jean so the next couple of weeks will be a test.
6. CEREZO OSAKA-(Last month 12) Coach Tsunami has the team playing decent football. Still not great but they are slowly creeping into contention. Ze Carlos will be the key.
7. KYOTO SANGA FC-(Last month 8) It seems like the team still has a depression hangover from the disaster of 2006. The referees haven't helped much. Really, Kyoto has disappointed.
8. THESPA KUSATSU-(Last month 6) The team is still scraping along and fighting for mid table respectability. There's really not much talent on this team but they play hard and fight. Koji Maatsura has scored some timely goals, too...........the horror!
9. TOKUSHIMA VORTIS-(Last month 10) They stink against teams they should compete against but managed to tie Vegalta Sendai and humble Verdy on the road. Possible giant killers and playing with much more pride than last year.
10. SAGAN TOSU-(Last month 9) Who knows what team is going to show up? They have the potential to play with any team in J2. They also have the potential to get blown out. Sad group.
11. TOKYO VERDY 1969-(Last month 1) Great talent, Awful team.......nuff said
12. EHIME FC- (Last month 11) Is it me or does this team seem to lack the urgency and fight of last year's squad. Guess the thrill of promotion is gone. They remind me alot of the Vortis squad last year.
13. MITO HOLLYHOCK-(Last month 13) OK........Home record 0-0-6 2 GF 14 GA -12 GD.......Road 0-3-2 1 GF 7 GA -6 GD. Could this team be as bad as the 2003 Sagan Tosu squad that only won 3 games? They might have the consolation prize of ending Rui Ramos coaching career.
High Riser CEREZO OSAKA
Big Loser TOKYO VERDY 1969