The J-League goalkeepers round-up.
The J-League is set to kick off its new season, and one of the key positions that can make or break a team's success is the goalkeeper. A reliable shot-stopper can make all the difference, not only in real life but also in the exciting world of Sorare.
Taking this into account, we've put together a list of the starting goalkeepers in the J-League.
Something to keep in mind, there is only one team that gets relegated this season.
First of all.
With Sorare minting loads of new cards and flooding the market, prices are dropping rapidly. However, the license of the J-League hangs in the balance. If the license isn't renewed this can be either positive or negative for us.
The positive way of looking at it is there are going to be fewer cards being minted = which equals better scarcity. So prices for the Sorare managers who have a J-league team will rise. The negative connotation is of course losing a license is never a good sign for Sorare and you won't get J-league players as a possible reward in the pool.
Sorare has communicated they will come with an announcement soon about the license situation. This was their last official announcement on 13 February:
J-League Update We are currently in the process of renewing our agreement with the J-League so that we can continue to celebrate the magic of the J-League with football fans worldwide. Our current rule for opening geographic regions is:We open a geographic region (e.g. Europe, Asia) for competition if there is at least one (1) licensed club that is playing from that region. -Sorare Dan on Discord.
Now the real reason you are here. The big Sorare J-League goalkeeper round-up. Let's get started, here are the starting goalkeepers for the J-League 2023 season, in no particular order.
Yokohama F. Marinos
Let's start with the title defenders.
Goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka should soon sign for the MLS team Vancouver Whitecaps. The remaining goalkeepers are: signed as a free player Hiroki Iikura, and last year's backup Powel Obinna Obi. So the question is, who will be the starting goalkeeper this season? An indication might be the Japanese Supercup. The starting goalkeeper was Obinna Obi, and he played a rather good game.
SorareJapan (Twitter) featured Powell Obinna Obi in our wildly popular article 11 Sorare Experts Reveal Their Top Goalkeeper Picks. It seems he might be right on the money with his recommendation.
Cerezo legend Jin-Hyeon is one of the best GKs in Asia on the ball, Cerezo depended on his distribution from the back a lot last season. Although he is getting a bit older now, he's still the starting goalkeeper and probably the most recommended cheap Sorare goalkeeper on the platform.
Newly signed Yang-Han Been from FC Seoul will be the second goalkeeper, he'll be looking to take over the starting goalkeeper position next season.
Grampus had the second-best defense last year, for a team that finished 8th, an interesting statistic. Aussi goalkeeper Langerak is nailed in as starting goalkeeper. A decent defense and a sure starter equal an easy recommendation if you are looking for a J-League goalkeeper and/or a defensive stack. We've made an interesting blog post about defensive stacking some time ago. A must-read.
Is the newly arrived Song Bum-Keun from the K-League team Jeonbuk Hyundai a good buy? For now, Bum-Keun seems a safe goalkeeper to buy but his Sorare scores will depend on the performance of his team Shonan Bellmare.
His accomplishments at Jeonbuk make him the second-best goalkeeper in the J-League with an L-15 of 54,5. Promising but yime will tell.
Hiroshima performed really well last season with a third finish
The most expensive Sorare goalkeeper on this list is Keisuke Osako, starting goalkeeper for Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Eligible for u23 till 2024 is of course always a huge price hike.
Yokohama is the first and only club in Japan to be run by supporters. The newly promoted team is back in the J1 after a year in the second division. They have an amazing striker Koki Ogawa with 26 goals last season and a good shot-stopper. The German youth international Brodersen should be the first goalie this season. He was one of the best goalkeepers in the J2 last year.
Last season was horrendous for Vissel as they unexpectedly fought relegation and only secured a stay in the J1 with a strong finish in the last 15 games.
I can fill an entire blog post and more about Vissel and their goalkeeper Maekawa. Vissel is being linked to all sorts of goalkeepers this winter (Brazilian free player Megliolaro is still one of them).
Second goalkeeper Iikura got dropped and went to F. Marinos, but eventually, Vissel had a quiet Mercato and no new goalkeeper was signed (yet). I would stay clear of buying Maekawa as your starting goalkeeper, his position seems shaky and the transfer window is open till 31 March.
Mid-table team FC Tokyo was wildly inconsistent last year. This was mostly due to their new way of playing football, implemented by Spanish T1 Albert Piug.
Polish goalkeeper Slowik is their starting GK and is also one of the most recommended goalkeepers for the J-League. They also had the most clean sheets last year which is always a good indication for us Sorare managers. He's a safe bet to buy.
Check on Soraredata who you can stack him with to maximize your points.
Urawa Red Diamonds
Urawa reds underperformed last season with a midtable finish. They had an 11-match winless streak, but nine of them ended in draws so the Reds didn’t have any trouble getting results. They did however made it to the AFC final.
Nishikawa is the starting goalkeeper and also quite cheap, but he's getting older and there is a strong, young second goalkeeper waiting patiently to get his chance. Zion Suzuki, we've written about him before, look it up.
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo
They finished last season with 11 wins, 11 losses, and 12 draws, cruising to a 10th-place finish. It was a reliable/mediocre league-average season in almost every way.
What wasn't mediocre was their defense, it was the second to one worst defense in the league. They did however (re) sign a goalkeeper, Gu Sung-Yun re-joins the team after playing in Korea and completing his military service.
The goalkeeper last year was 38 year old Sugeno. Gu Sung-Yun was the number one when he was last in Sapporo with Sugeno on the bench for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Another team that signed a new goalkeeper, Kamifukumoto, joins from Kyoto Sanga.
Kawasaki Frontale has dominated this era of Japanese football. They won four of the last six J-1 League titles, as well as several cups. However last year they finished second.
The other goalkeeper is Jung Sung-Ryong. At this time it is unclear to me who will be the starting goalkeeper. Kamifukumoto has the right age, has the better stats, and is one of the best L15 Sorare goalkeepers in the J-league. However most J-League specialist seems to favor Sung-Ryong.
After a difficult season, barely evading relegation, goalkeeper Kamifukumoto left the team and joined Kawasaki Frontale. Kyoto Sanga changed up their team with some new players and they signed a new goalie, globetrotter Warner Hahn. The start of the season might come a bit too soon for Hahn who just arrived in Japan. In this case, we look to the backup goalies Wakahara and Woud.
Gamba Osaka has three goalkeepers under contract. The 36-year-old Higashiguchi was one of the better goalkeepers last year and help keep the team in the J-1. Although he has some good competition from the two other goalkeepers, the young and homegrown Tani (last season loaned to Shonan Bellmare) and Ichimori. Everyone seems very anxious for Tani to take over but it seems Higashiguchi seems the favorite to start between the sticks.
The team with the ugliest logo in the history of logos.
The goalkeeper Park il-Gyu is nailed in as a starting goalkeeper and an easy recommendation for everyone that needs a Sorare goalkeeper.
Although Murakami got dropped for a few games last year, he seems the obvious choice as starting goalkeeper this year.
Murakami L15 is rather low due to some bad scores at the end of last season. It might be an interesting pick for your cap220/240 team. Be sure to look into it.
All eyes will be on Hosoya, who is one of the brightest young stars in Japan. He can continue to improve, Reysol may have a Player of the Year candidate.
Their starting goalkeeper is most likely the young Masato Sasaki. Although second goalie Morita is very keen to take over when the opportunity arises. It might be worth your while to pick up a cheap Morita card and hope that Sasaki makes a few mistakes.
Newly promoted Albirex Niigata was nothing short of glorious, leading the second division in goals scored and goals conceded as they claimed the title.
26-year-old Ryosuko Kojima is the starting goalkeeper but has unfortunately no cards minted. As I explained in the intro of his article, we'll see what happens with the license of Sorare
The pre-season games point to the young goalkeeper Hayakawa as a starting goalkeeper. However, he isn't as sure of his position as some others in this article. There is some risk of him losing his spot to the talented Oki. Hayakawa price at this time is rather inflated and the balloon might pop soon as his u23 is running out this summer. I suggest keeping an eye on Oki prices and if you can pick him up cheap, it might be a good 'investment'.