Friday, March 6, 2009

J2 2009 preview: Consadole Sapporo


CONSADOLE SAPPORO:
Stadium: Sapporo Dome (42,300) and Sapporo Atsubetsu Park Stadium (20,005)
Average attendance 2008: 14,547
Last season's finish: 18th (J1)


2009 season's transfers:
In
No. Position Player
GK Hiroki Aratani (Transferred from Omiya Ardija)
5 DF Yoshinobu Minowa (Transferred from Kawasaki Frontale)
DF Cho Sung-Hwan (Transferred from Pohang Steelers)
MF Danilson Córdoba (Transferred from Independiente Medellín)
MF Shinya Uehara (Drafted from Okinawa University)
MF Hiroyuki Furuta (Promoted from youth team)
FW Thiago Quirino (Transferred from Djurgårdens IF Fotboll)

Out
3 DF Junji Nishizawa (Retired)
5 DF Tomohiko Ikeuchi (Released)
10 FW Davi (Transferred to Nagoya Grampus)
11 FW Anderson (Released)
14 MF Tomoki Suzuki (Retired)
16 MF Shinji Otsuka (Retired)
19 DF Shusuke Tsubouchi (End of loan from Vissel Kobe)
21 DF Yasuhiro Hiraoka (End of loan from Shimizu S-Pulse)
24 MF Masaya Nishitani (Retired)
26 GK Yasuhiro Tominaga (Retired)
28 GK Takahiro Takagi (End of loan from Omiya Ardija)
29 MF Jun Marques Davidson (End of loan from Albirex Niigata)
33 MF Chung Yong-Dae (Released)
34 FW Edson (End of loan from Esporte Clube Vitória)
- DF Tsuneyuki Ueda (Transferred to Honda Lock S.C.)
- DF Hiroshi Kichise (Released)
- FW Shinya Aikawa (Retired)

My view on the transfers:
Consadole have gone through a complete make-over since they were relegated, and several regular starters have gone. Only in defence are four players that received frequent playing time gone since last season, as well as their preferred goalkeeper Takagi. Five midfielders are gone as well, as three or four veterans have decided to hang up their boots. In one way a good thing, as Consadole now can give their talents more playing-time. Up front, Consadole's best player by a mile last season Davi has left for greener pastures, and will leave a big hole to fill for the rest of the strikers. Anderson is also gone, but he never managed to make an impact on the team. They've done some shopping as well though, and from Omiya they've picked up GK Aratani, who will be a good back-up to Sato, who took over Takagi's place in the middle of last season and kept it ever since. In defence, Minowa has made a permanent move from Frontale, while the former Korean international Cho will also be a solid acquisition from Pohang Steelers. In midfield, Consadole have brought in the talented Danilson Cordoba from Colombia, who despite his young age have already been an established member of Independiente Medellin for years. Surely a player that will improve Consadole. Thiago is brought in to fill Davi's shoes, but the Brazilian has a relatively poor spell in Sweden behind him. There was expected great things from the attacker, but he never really found the rhythm in Allsvenskan, and is hoping to revive his career in Japan instead.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Sato - Soda, Minowa, Nishijima, Cho - Fujita, Sunakawa, Danilson, Claiton - Thiago, Nakayama

My view on the team:
Consadole got a solid midfield, with lots of options to choose from. They got several talented youngsters that's already established within the team, and during a long season that will come in handy as the regular starters might suffer from fatigue. The defence however looks weakened, and only Nishijima were considered a regular last season. Cho will strengthen the team though, but they lack options and doesn't look as good as they did last time they were in J2. Up front there will be alot of pressure on Thiago to deliver, as it's he Consadole are hoping to get most of their goals from. Nakayama has never been a goalscoring type, and although they got a few talented FW's in back-up, it looks thin. Sato is a decent goalkeeper, and with Aratani in back-up they are well-covered in that area.

Player to watch: Danilson Cordoba

Manager: Nobuhiro Ishizaki
A rather inexperienced coach that will make his debut on this level with Consadole. Were appointed ahead of this season, and not really much to say about him.

Supporters:
Consadole got a good crowd, and one of the biggest fanbases in J2. Their fans are very loyal, and the bond between the club and fans are strong. Due to long travels to pretty much every other arena in Japan they don't have as many fans as other teams at away-matches.

Where they will finish:
Consadole were butchered in J1 last season, but I doubt they will suffer the same destiny as Yokohama FC did after a similar season in 2007. Consadole looks like one of the stronger teams in the league, and if their new players will adapt quickly they can make a serious bid for a top 3 finish. However, with so many unknowns left unclear they will at most be looked upon as a dark-horse this season.

2nd - 6th

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