Verdy, S-Pulse set to clash for J1 spot

Verdy, S-Pulse set to clash for J1 spot

Tokyo Verdy or Shimizu S-Pulse will play in the Meiji Yasuda J1 League next season. The question is which one it will be.

That will be decided on Saturday at 14:05 JST, when the two clubs meet at the Japan National Stadium in the 2023 J.League Road to J1 Play-Offs Final - a match you can watch live on the J.League International YouTube channel.

Verdy enter the game in terrific form, having won three in a row and gone 11 straight matches without a loss. They beat JEF United Chiba in the semi-finals of the play-offs, riding a pair of early goals to a 2-1 victory.

They’ve been an especially fantastic defensive team, conceding a J2-best 31 goals this season. If that defense can hold up in the final, Verdy will find themselves in the top flight for the first time in 15 years.

For a club that won the first two J.League titles during their Kawasaki era, Verdy’s fall from the country’s elite has been pronounced. They are a proud club with a storied history, and now find themselves on the verge of a return back to the top, where they can compete for national honors once more.

S-Pulse don’t have to go back nearly as far for their last time in J1. They were in the top flight just last season and, after their relegation for 2023, made a point of committing every resource to leaping right back up. Now they are 90 minutes away from doing just that.

Whereas Verdy have been a defense-first side, S-Pulse have an attack to envy. Carlinhos Júnior has scored 15 goals, while Takashi Inui has 10 assists, pacing a team that scored the second-most goals in the league.

Will S-Pulse complete their immediate bounce back into J1? Or will Verdy end their decade-and-a-half wait and seal their return to the first division for the first time since 2008? Find out live on the J.League International YouTube channel as one club’s promotion dreams come true.