Wednesday 19 February 2020

Vs Shimizu S Pulse (home) 16/2/20, Levain Cup, group stage match 1

Kawasaki Frontale 5 - 1 Shimizu S Pulse

As the first post of the new season with new players and a new system this should be a detailed one. But it’s late and short. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. This year we kicked off our season with a Levain Cup group game, something distinctly different from the last two years’ season openers. There were reasons to be optimistic though. We are apparently going to give youth a chance this year. We are also going to play attacking football, changing to 4-3-3 and ripping off Yokohama's tactics. This probably has left a slightly sour taste in the mouth for some, who’d probably rather we didn’t copy our local rivals to try and catch up with them, but it seems to be a common theme this year, with FC Tokyo and Urawa also apparently giving these tactics a go. Five goals in our first game suggests that things are working though, and for the first time in a while, there was some fun at Todoroki. However, Shimizu were a bit of a mess at the back and will certainly not be our toughest opponents this year. They did give us a bit of a scare though when they pulled a goal back. We looked like we were wobbling for a bit, but in the end the shock was useful, as it knocked us out of a passage of pretty mediocre play and put us back on the front foot. 

A quick word on the new tactics. I don’t think things have gone completely Yokohama as we might have been promised. I think that’s a good thing to be honest. I’m not sure our midfield has totally got to grips with the new system yet and this was the area of the pitch where we weren’t playing so well. As far as I could see, the centre backs weren’t going as far forward as previously. Last year we often had one of our defensive midfielders playing furthest back with the two centre backs advancing slightly either side of him. This year it seems that they’ll stay back. Consequently, there’s no need for our keeper to play in the centre circle, which some people were expecting. Damiao seems much better suited to playing in the middle of a front three, and I’m sure he’d have got more goals in this game if he could have had some shots that weren’t overhead kicks. He certainly loves an overhead! I liked the look of Hasegawa and Miyashiro either side of him but I hope that when Kobayashi comes back into the team it will be on the right alongside Damiao rather than as a replacement for him. The three players in the middle seemed to be working on a basis of one staying back a little and the others going forward. I guess there are just some teething problems with this while everyone gets used to it, but we did seem to be a bit wasteful with possession there. I doubt that this was Oniki’s preferred starting (particularly as Levain rules mean that he needed to start a young player, hence Miyashiro), so I guess we’ll have to wait till next week against Sagan Tosu to get an idea of who is where in the pecking order. We still will have the problem of having loads of players to squeeze into six midfield and forward spots though. Right at the back, it seems that Sung-Ryong is still our number one keeper, but it was something of a shock to see Ando on the bench. Have really no idea if this selection was significant or whether there will be some rotation this year. 

So, of course plenty to be positive about, scoring five goals in our first game, but a few things to work on and think about too. I like the fact that we’re a bit more positive this year as 2019 was a bit of a grind to be honest. And if we can get the midfield clicking it could be a fun year. But there will certainly be tougher games than this ahead, and who knows how we’ll react to a defensive counter attacking team like Hiroshima coming to play us. Although they probably have also switched to super attacking this year too. But let’s not think about that right now and hope that we can carry this positive start into the first league game. We are always slow starters in the league, so an opening day win would make a nice change! Fingers crossed!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya

GK 24. ANDO Shunsuke
MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa  
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 18. MITOMA Kaoru (on for HASEGAWA 86') 
MF 33. HATATE Reo (on for MIYASHIRO 62')
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro

My Frontale Man Of The Match

I've left this post so late, that we'll just leave it till next time.


LEANDRO DAMIAO (Frontale)10' 1-0 
HASEGAWA (Frontale) 23' 2-0 
ISHIGE (Shimizu) 67' 2-1
HASEGAWA (Frontale) 74' 3-1 
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 83' 4-1 
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 90+5' 5-1 


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