Player in Focus: Sagan Tosu are giving Koyamatsu more chances, and he’s giving them more goals

Player in Focus: Sagan Tosu are giving Koyamatsu more chances, and he’s giving them more goals

Sagan Tosu’s rise to third place this season has been driven by their terrific defense. Even in recent weeks, as the defense has slumped some, they are still resolute at the back and clearly leaning upon goal prevention to stay near the top of the table. But they’ve needed more firepower up front, and they may have found it by moving Tomoya Koyamatsu into a more attacking role.

The 26-year-old Koyamatsu began the season on the left wing, unquestionably doing his part to help Sagan play so well with dependable performances. But, in need of more goals as the season has progressed, Koyamatsu has moved off the wing and into a more central withdrawn striker role. In five starts and one bench appearance since the transition in mid-July, he’s scored four goals and added three assists.

In that time, Sagan have only lost one of six matches. This despite their once-impenetrable defense keeping just one clean sheet in that span.

This week, second-place Yokohama F·Marinos come to town, boasting the joint-best attack in the league, with a gigantic gap to the next-best scoring team. The Sagan defense is going to have its work cut out with the Tricolor, and given the probable need for goals in response, Koyamatsu in fine form may be just what they need to light up the scoreboard and secure a result.