The real competition starts from now - the team had the same number of wins and losses as last year until now  

The 2010 season J. League Eighth Sec. against Jubilo Iwata starts from 4 pm at Saitama Stadium on Saturday 24 April. Urawa Reds won the previous match they played against Kawasaki Frontale with the score of 3 to 0, which put the team at the top of the rankings in the J. League with the results of 4 consecutive wins and without loosing 8 official matches so far. The team is in good condition with both offense and defense players working well. Since the next match will also be played at their home stadium, the players’ morale is elevated. In the previous match, the team played well against Frontale with both teams pulling out each other’s strengths by attacking each other. In regards to the match against Jubilo Iwata, however, it may be the case that both teams counter each other’s strengths. The Red’s record so far is exactly the same as last year. It is now expected that opponent teams work out their strategies by analyzing the Red’s play style. The team has to show how they are different from last year from this point forward.

This weekend’s match will be the second time for the Reds will play against Jubilo Iwata during the season since they have already played each other in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup on 31 March. In the previous match, the team struggled during the first half. Even though the team managed to catch up with their opponent, how they played during the match did not get any praise as they could not play in a calm manner for the entire 45 minutes.
However, the situation is completely deferent for both teams now. Jubilo Iwata has been struggling till now, which is evident from their past results with 1 win, 3 draws and 3 losses. They stand at 15th in the rankings and are struggling in a slump as they have not been able to ride an upward wave. However, their situation is improving little by little. Currently, they have not lost in five official matches including the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup match. They have accumulated 5 points over the past three matches in the J. League and are showing the sign of recovery.
Jubilo Iwata plays with 4-4-2 system. Jubilo Iwata’s two tops players, Ryoichi Maeda and Lee Keun Ho are a threat. Ryoichi Maeda was last season’s J. League top scorer and has scored 4 goals so far during this season, which accounts for half of the goals his team has scored. Lee Keun Ho is a striker who plays for the Korean national team. Yuichi Komano’s crossing passes are also something we have to be careful of.

Urawa Reds scored 3 goals each in the last two consecutive official matches. Looking at the J. League scores alone, the team scored 10 points over the past four matches since the fourth sec. match played against Cerezo Osaka. As for the goals, not only the attackers such as Edmilson, Tatsuya Tanaka and Ponte but also defensive mid fielders namely Yuki Abe, Hajime Hosogai and Satoshi Horinouchi are scoring goals. This highlights the fact that the team has improved their attacks during this season.
It is also important to note the improvement in defense. At the early stage of the season, the team faced some difficult moments when dealing with crossing passes played by their opponents. However, over the past few matches they have been better able to intercept their opponent’s crossing pass attempts and have reduced such difficult moments. Since the team can switch from the offensive to the defensive more quickly, the team improved in their defensive efforts in countering their opponents’ counter attacks, which often led to a loss of their goal in the previous season. Nobuhisa Yamada made a comment about the fact that the team’s record so far this year is exactly the same as in the previous season.
He said, “the team feels that things are different from last year, even though we still have to be careful not to lose the momentum. I would be happy if our supporters could also tell the difference in us.” His comment shows that players are also convinced that their performances have improved.

The team aims to play fun-filled soccer by showing a high level of technique, a strong mentality and a strong stamina for running around the field until the end of the match. They will try to score goals no matter who plays in a game. The Reds’ supporters give a great back boost with their passionate cheering. Let us work together as one on the pitch and in the stadium stand so that we can score another three points in the match against Jubilo Iwata.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]