Friday, March 6, 2009

J2 2009 preview: Kataller Toyama

Stadium: Toyama Athletic Recreation Park Stadium (28,494)
Average attendance 2008 : N/A
Last season's finish: 3rd (JFL)

2009 season's transfers:
MF Kang Hyun-Su (Transferred from Kyoto Sanga F.C.)
DF Sho Asuke (Transferred from Tokyo Verdy)
DF Tetsuya Funatsu (Drafted from Biwako Seikei Sport College)
DF Kazuhito Esaki (Drafted from Hosei University)
FW Masato Sakurai (Drafted from Hamamatsu University)

DF Keiichiro Hashimoto (Released)
DF Hideya Tanaka (Kamatamare Sanuki)
MF Satoshi Yoshioka (Retired)

My view on the transfers:
Toyama hasn't made any real changes to their team, and the only ones brought in are a few university-players plus two rookies from Kyoto and Verdy. None of the players that helped the team win promotion last season has gone as well, which means the squad is pretty much unchanged.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Nakagawa - Nishino, Hamano, Tsutsumi, Nakata - Kamizono, Kabayama / Nagayama, Watanabe, Asahi - Hasegawa, Ishida / Nagatomi

My view on the team:
Few of the players have an previous experience with J.League-football, and the most "merited" of them is infact Kamizono, who played a few seasons for Mito in J2 a few years ago. Untested at this level, Toyama is expected to struggle in their debut season, but looked pretty good last year so they might be able to upset a few teams. Both strikers Hasegawa and Ishida have scored lots of goals in JFL, and should be able to bag a few here as well. The defence doesn't look too strong though, and I think they will struggle against the big teams.

Player to watch: Mitsuru Hasegawa

Manager: Hiroshi Showa
Like his players, Showa is untested at this level, which makes it hard to file a description of him. A former assistant coach of Cerezo Osaka and Sagan Tosu means he have gone the grades, and probably picked up some good tricks along the way.

Toyama averaged just over 4000 last season, which is more than clubs like Ehime,Mito and Tokushima. At the most they had over 10 000 at one of their games, which means there's a vast interest for the club in their hometown.

Where they will finish:
Toyama looks on paper like the weakest team in the league, and I would be surprised if they managed to keep too many teams behind them when the season is finished. A very in-experienced squad, but good team-morale and determination and will enough to deliver might give them a few wins. Most likely they will end up close to the bottom though.

17th - 18th

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