First off, I’ve written my 2009 prediction for FCT, which has been posted at JapaneseSoccer.net. I won’t re-post it here yet (because then you’d have no reason to go there), but to sum things up:
- FCT has made fine tune-ups instead of huge changes. This is good.
- FCT now has a mascot, which means it will get more money, which means it can afford to run a better team.
- If Nakamura and Hirayama, former youth NT teammates, can work together as well as Cabore and Akamine, our offensive capabilities will be unparalleled.
- Defense largely rests on a healthy Bruno, Hiramatsu’s leadership, and a fast resolution to the GK issue (namely how quickly Shiota can return in form and/or whether or not Kenta can pick up the slack).
- I predict a top 3 finish and an ACL Berth.
Anyway, to read all of that in paragraph form and to see preseason predictions for other J-League teams, you should head over to JapaneseSoccer.Net.
In another English-language prediction, Rising Sun chief Matsu has forecasted that FCT will remain in the 5th-7th place range in his yearly J1 forecast. While I’m certainly being optimistic in my predictions, I believe he’s being pessimistic in his, so I’m willing to take his view as a good omen.
Finally, my season ticket bundle arrives today! 2 weeks till opening day at Ajinomoto Stadium!