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Saturday, March 6, 2010

2010 J. LEAGUE PREVIEW

Shimizu S-Pulse


Staff writer

Team-by-team previews of the 18 teams competing in the first division.

Last season: seventh

S-Pulse have been threatening to put together a title challenge for some time, but when they finally managed to climb to the top of the league in October last season — for the first time in a decade — the wheels came off in spectacular fashion.

Kenta Hasegawa's side proceeded to take one point from its next six games, a shocking run that not only cost Shimizu the title but a place in the Asian Champions League as well.

The team clearly lacked enough experienced heads, and the signings of one-time golden boy Shinji Ono from Bochum and Australian defender Eddy Bosnar from JEF United Chiba should go some way toward addressing the issue.

Ono will never be the player he once was but nonetheless adds creativity to a midfield that could do with a sprinkling of stardust, while Bosnar is a reliable enough performer at the back.

With players such as Shinji Okazaki, Frode Johnsen, Takuya Edamura and Keisuke Iwashita already on board, S-Pulse can again harbor realistic ambitions of winning a first-ever championship.

If they lose their nerve when the heat is on, however, they can forget it.


Previews continued:

Yokohama F. Marinos

Jubilo Iwata

Kyoto Sanga

Omiya Ardija

Vissel Kobe

Montedio Yamagata

Vegalta Sendai

Cerezo Osaka

Shonan Bellmare

Kashima Antlers

Kawasaki Frontale

Gamba Osaka

Sanfrecce Hiroshima

FC Tokyo

Urawa Reds

Shimizu S-Pulse

Albirex Niigata

Nagoya Grampus



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