March 17th brings us the 3rd round of the 2013 J2 season, and there are some interesting games on the slate.
Vissel Kobe will look to continue their 100% start to the season as they face a Consadole Sapporo side coming off the back of a bad home loss against Tochigi. Vissel showed an abundance of attacking prowess last week as they demolished Gifu 4-0 at the NOEVIR stadium, and it will be interesting to see who Adachi starts with up front. The other team with a 100% record, Avispa Fukuoka, face Kyoto Sanga at the Level 5 stadium. Fukuoka came from behnd to beat Yamagata last week and will be looking to continue their impressive start under new coach Marijan Pusnik. Kyoto have started the season with two draws, but really should have won last week against Tokyo Verdy where they dominated but couldn’t find the killer touch. Winter signing Yuya Nakamura is out for the next month with a thigh injury, so the burden falls on Miyayoshi & Kubo (who both missed great chances to win the game last week) to provide the goals.
Free scoring Gamba Osaka welcome Motohiro Yamaguchi’s Yokohama FC to Banpaku. Gamba have scored 3 goals in both of their first two games and it is going to take a very well organized defence to stop them from doing that on a weekly basis. Yokohama surprisingly let the lead slip twice last week as they were surprisingly held by Tokushima Vortis at Mitsuzawa. Roasso Kumamoto head to the imposing confines of the Alwin Stadium as they face Matsumoto Yamaga. Roasso are coming off the back of two home defeats and it takes a bit of an optimist to envisage them getting a positive result at one of the most difficult places to go in J2. Montedio Yamagata go in search of their first win of the season, and only their second in the last 14 attempts when they host V-Varen Nagasaki in Tendo. Although Nagasaki were beaten by Gamba last week, they will be encouraged by the amount of chances they created and will fancy their chances against a Montedio side woefully short on confidence. Giravanz Kitakyushu, coming off a respectable draw in Okayama, face another away trip, this time going to the Pocari Sweat Stadium to face a Tokushima Vortis side buoyed by their aforementioned draw at Yokohama. Kosei Shibasaki netted his first of the season in Yokohama and he could prove to be a key player for the men from Naruto this season. Fellow Shikoku side Ehime FC travel to Hokuriku to face Kataller Toyama. Last week Toyama were undone by Takayuki Suzuki’s solitary goal as they lost in Mito while Ehime drew with Matsumoto thanks to a great/freak (delete as appropriate) goal from Kengo Ishii. Somewhat under the radar, Ehime are unbeaten in their last ten J2 games.
JEF United, fresh off a 3-0 win against Kumamoto, travel to Utsunomiya to face Tochigi SC who also had a morale boosting away win last time out, theirs coming at the Sapporo Dome against Consadole. Tokyo Verdy will have Yasutoshi Miura in the dug out/technical area for the first time in a league game as they face Fagiano Okayama. Okayama have been disappointing in their first two games, both at home, and they will look to get their first win on the board against the Tokyo greens. Verdy were ultra-fortunate to escape from Kyoto with 0-0 draw after being comprehensively outplayed for most of the game and will hope that having their coach on the sidelines will help them kick start their season. Gainare Tottori host their first home game of the season when they welcome Mito Hollyhock to the Torigin Stadium. Gainare will be without winter signing Genki Nagasato who will be out for around two months with ligament problems. Mito come into this game unbeaten having seen off Toyama at K’s Denki stadium last week. FC Gifu v Thespakusatsu Gunma is covered in the Match previews section.
Full J2 fixtures for March 17th
- Matsumoto Yamaga v Roasso Kumamoto
- Gainare Tottori v Mito Hollyhock
- Tokushima Vortis v Giravanz Kitakyushu
- Avispa Fukuoka v Kyoto Sanga
- Montedio Yamagata v V-Varen Nagasaki
- Tochigi SC v JEF United
- Tokyo Verdy v Fagiano Okayama
- Kataller Toyama v Ehime FC
- Gamba Osaka v Yokohama FC
- Vissel Kobe v Consadole Sapporo
- FC Gifu v Thespakusatsu Gunma