Monday, March 2, 2009

J1 2009 preview: Kyoto Sanga

Stadium: Nishikyogoku Stadium (20,668)
Average attendance 2008: 13,687
Last season's finish: 14th

2009 season's transfers:
GK Kenya Matsui (On loan from Júbilo Iwata)
GK Tatsuya Morita (Drafted from Narashino High School)
DF Tatsuya Masushima (Transferred from F.C. Tokyo)
DF Lee Jung-Soo (Transferred from Suwon Samsung Bluewings)
DF Shun Morishita (Transferred from Júbilo Iwata)
DF Yuta Someya (Drafted from Ryutsu Keizai University F.C.)
MF Diego (Transferred from Tokyo Verdy)
FW Kim Seng-Yong (Drafted from Korea University (Japan))
FW Yohei Toyoda (Transferred from Nagoya Grampus)
FW Takumi Uesato (Drafted from Miyako High School)
FW Atsutaka Nakamura (Drafted from Municipal Funabashi High School)
MF Ataliba (Transferred to Marília Atlético Clube)
DF Ryuzo Morioka (Retired)
FW Takaaki Tokushige (Transferred to Tokushima Vortis)
FW Yutaka Tahara (Released)
MF Fernandinho (End of loan from Shimizu S-Pulse)
MF Toshiya Ishii (Transferred to Roasso Kumamoto)
DF Yuki Okubo (Transferred to Tochigi S.C.)
MF Daishi Kato (Transferred to Yokohama FC)
MF William (On loan to Sagawa Printing S.C.)
GK Hideaki Ueno (Transferred to Tokushima Vortis)
DF Masataka Tamura (Transferred to Tochigi S.C.)
DF Kentoku Noborio (Transferred to Tokushima Vortis)
DF Takashi Hirajima (Transferred to Cerezo Osaka)
MF Kang Hyun-Su (Transferred to Kataller Toyama)
MF Daisuke Saito (Transferred to Vegalta Sendai)
FW Wataru Sumida (Transferred to V-Varen Nagasaki)

My view on the transfers:
Kyoto have mande a few improvements to the team,with the most changes taking place in midfield. The former Korean international Lee is new, and will take over the role that Ataliba had last year. Like Ataliba, Fernandinho is gone as well, but newcomer Diego will try to fill his shoes. Up front the talented FW Toyoda has been brought in, and will be a nice addition to Yanagisawa and Paulinho. Several players not really good enough for a starting role has gone, which means they have lost several valuable back-up members since last season.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Hirai - Masushima, Sidiclei, Mizumoto, Kakuda - Diego, Lee, Sato, Watanabe / Nakayama - Yanagisawa, Paulinho

My view on the team:
Kyoto's squad isn't too bad, and they got a solid defence with Mizumoto as the natural leader. A talented midfield as well, and with Yanagisawa and Paulinho up front they should have enough firepower to cause some trouble for the opposing teams. They rely heavily on individuals though, and if a few of the regular starters are missing through injuries or suspension Kyoto will struggle to find good enough replacements within the team.

Player to watch: Yuto Sato

Manager: Hisashi Kato
Kato has been in charge of Kyoto since 2007, and have made a solid job taking them up from J2 his first year in charge, and managed to keep them clear of relegation in 2008. A cautious manager though, that doesn't like to take unnecessary chances. A former Japanese international.
Kyoto got one of the smallest fanbases in J1, and only averages around 13 000 pr match. Their small and outdated stadium doesn't really attract more fans though, and the hardcore fans is having a tough time trying to create a good atmosphere at Nishikyogoku.

Where they will finish:
Kyoto is the team with the most relegations and promotions in J.League, and has been dubbed the "elevator-team". They managed for once to stay afloat in J1 after a promotion last season though, but now they are entering the difficult 2nd-season. -but Kyoto looks quite strong actually, and they should be good enough to match last season's 14th place. If they can avoid injuries to key-members, they should be safe this year as well.

13th-15th place

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