Friday, March 6, 2009

J2 2009 preview: Sagan Tosu

Stadium: Tosu Stadium (25,000)
Average attendance 2008: 7,261
Last season's finish: 6th

2009 season's transfers:
DF Keita Isozaki (Transferred from Vegalta Sendai)
DF Masayuki Yanagisawa (Transferred from Cerezo Osaka)
DF Takuya Yamada (Transferred from Yokohama FC)
DF Masaki Watanabe (Drafted from Kyoto Sangyo University)
MF Yusuke Shimada (On loan from Omiya Ardija)
MF Samuel (Drafted from Chukyo High School)
MF Yuto Takeoka (Drafted from Kokushikan University)
FW Hiroshi Ichihara (On loan from Oita Trinita)
FW Josue (Returned from F.C. Machida Zelvia)
FW Kei Ikeda (Drafted from Ryutsu Keizai University F.C.)

2 DF Yuichi Shibakoya (End of loan from Oita Trinita)
4 DF Park Jung-Hae (Transferred to Daejeon Citizen)
9 FW Kim Sin-Young (End of loan from Cerezo Osaka)
11 MF Leonardo (End of loan from Tokyo Verdy)
14 MF Keisuke Funatani (End of loan from J├║bilo Iwata)
15 DF Hiroshi Tetsuto (Released)
19 MF Junya Yamashiro (Transferred to V-Varen Nagasaki)
22 FW Hiroyuki Ishida (Released)
25 FW Yoshihito Fujita (Transferred to Omiya Ardija)
26 MF Toyoki Hasegawa (Released)
29 MF Takashi Soejima (Released)
- DF Hidenori Kato (Transferred to Gainare Tottori)

My view on the transfers:
Sagan have brought in three new defenders that will probably go straight into the team, or atleast be considered valuable members. Yanagisawa is a top J2 right-back, and Isozaki and Yamada are solid additions as well. Shibakoya is gone though, but overall that part looks better this year.In midfield Leonardo is gone, who were a valuable member last season, and he is to be replaced by Shimada from Omiya. Shimada did a solid job for Thespa last season. Up front their star-striker Fujita have left for Omiya, as well as Korean Kim. That leaves only three inexperienced strikers in the early 20
s left to score goals, which in my opinion sounds very alarming.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Akahoshi / Muro -Yanagisawa, Iio /Takachi, Hidaka, Isozaki / Yamada - Hirose /Nozaki, Eto, Shimada / Shimizu, Takahashi - Josue/Taniguchi, Ichihara

My view on the team:
Defensively Sagan looks as strong as ever, and the opposition will probably have a hard time scoring on them this year as well. Up front however, the options are few, and only three inpexerienced and young strikers are to choose from. Ichihara from Oita might make a good addition, but neither Josue or Tanigichi have showed anything before that suggests they should be able to score many goals at this level.

Player to watch: Yu Eto

Manager: Yasuyuki Kishino
Kishino has been in charge since 2007, and is a very defensive-oriented coach that doesn't let the team take any risks. It means they score few goals, but also manages most of the time to keep the conceded goals at a minimum.

Sagan averaged over 7 000 last season,which isn't too bad. They have some nice fans, that are passionate about their team and even travels in relatively large numbers to away matches as well.

Where they will finish:
Without any goalscoring-machines in the squad, I don't think Sagan will be able to challenge for a top 3 finish this year. Fujita made the difference in the previous seasons, but with him gone and no real replacement being brought in it doesn't look too good this year. An upper half finish seems more realistic, and if Sagan can avoid defeats they could even surprise by finishing higher as well.


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