The time of year has come when the players have finished their holidays and are back into pre-season training. This is usually quite a lot of fitness work, but there are also some training matches, especially important with a new team having been built and needing to get to know how their team-mates play.
The first training match was against Fukuoka University, who will have also lost players since last year, but are not a bad team and perhaps won’t have expected to have been beaten 5-0 across 3 45-minute periods.
All of the Fukuoka players will have been trying pretty hard I guess as they have a new coach to impress, and lots of new team-mates to compete against for a first team spot.
Very few players can consider themselves automatic selections for the first game and will need to be showing something in the coming weeks.
The team lined up with a mixture of youth and experience, old players and new players. This seems to be the way in these training matches rather than play a straight first team and second team.
Perhaps the best thing for me is that they seem to be adopting a simpler 442 formation.
Jogo got an early goal to start the season, which appears to have been scored from a loose ball after sustained pressure.
The second period started with much the same line-up as the first, but with Jogo and Ishizu switching. I’d like to see Jogo in more of a midfield role, and I’m sure striker suits Ishizu better. Eita replaced Kawata in goal.
Midway through this ‘half’ the team had wholescale changes to introduce a new line-up.
It also saw the return of the more familar 4231 formation, but playing with some strikers it seemed to work with a goal being scored quickly after the changes as Sakata got his first goal in an Avispa shirt.
Seeing Miyaji in midfield is a new one, and maybe indicates some lack of depth we have in that position, but he might be able to do well there as I also think Kobara could.
The final period was much like the end of period 2, with the only notable changes being that Kamiyama came on as goal-keeper and Captain, and Hatamoto came back on to give Koga’s legs a bit of a rest.
Settling into the formation, and with some of the most experienced strikers on the pitch they scored 3 quicks goals as Sakata got a second, and Yutaka helped himself to 2 as well.
5-0 against one of the strongest University clubs in the country is a pretty good result, even more so with a bunch of players playing together for the first time.
Nearly everyone in the squad got a bit of time on the pitch with only Kim Min Je, Takumi Wada and Go Nishida not getting a game with what I assume are injuries.