Kashiwa Reysol Season Preview: Can a reshuffled attack move Reysol back up the table?

Kashiwa Reysol Season Preview: Can a reshuffled attack move Reysol back up the table?

Kashiwa Reysol have a long and successful history, which includes a J1 League title in 2011, three Emperor’s Cup crowns, and three J.League Cup titles. After narrowly surviving the drop in 2021, what do they have in store for 2022?

Last season

Reysol had a difficult start to their campaign, losing five of their first six, and were always in danger of being relegated, but they rebounded with fine form in late summer and early fall. That moved them out of the drop zone, where they remained for a 15th place finish.

Key arrivals

Douglas joins Reysol from Vissel Kobe, giving them a much-needed boost up front. Tomoya Koyamatsu and Keita Nakamura have also been signed from Sagan Tosu and Shimizu S-Pulse, respectively, which should fortify the midfield going forward as Reysol continue to strengthen their attack.

Key departures

Yusuke Segawa jumped to Shonan Bellmare, which will be a blow to Reysol on the left, as will Hayato Nakama, who joins Kashima Antlers. The biggest loss is Yuta Kamiya, who goes to S-Pulse after notching three goals and four assists for Reysol last season.

Goal for 2022

Reysol had an excellent first campaign back in J1 in 2020, finishing seventh thanks to a balanced team and the incredible goalscoring exploits of Michael Olunga. They slid back into the relegation race last year, but the gold and black have proven they are a capable midtable side and will be targeting that again this season.

What to watch for

Reysol took a step back at both ends of the pitch last season, but their winter moves have been aimed primarily at bolstering an attack that averaged just under a goal per game in 2021. If Douglas can be the strong figure up front that Reysol are envisioning, it could be a return to the dynamic strikeforce that delighted fans in Kashiwa in 2020 when they had one of the most potent attacks in the league running through Olunga.

How well Reysol have replaced departing midfielders will certainly play a big role on the defensive side as well, but it is clear that all eyes in Kashiwa will be on this team’s ability to create and finish. Do that and they could be a strong side again. If not, 2022 may look more like 2021 than they want.