10 July 2009

This Year's Emperor's Cup

Full details and schedule will be released later, but the number of teams for the Emperor's Cup and round entrance have been announced. There are more teams now than ever and small teams will face big competition very early.

J. League teams and JFL seeded teams enter in the 2nd round of a 7 round tournament. The first round reduces 48 prefectural and college teams to 24, and adding the other 40 makes 64 for an additional 6 rounds.

The following is pure speculation. Round 2 should have the following, with home advantage on the left:
-18 J1 vs. 18 pref./college
-Top 6 J2 vs. 6 pref./college
-7-10 J2 vs. 4 top JFL
-11-14 J2 vs. 15-18 J2

If Oita loses their first match against someone like Hitachi Tochigi UVA, you'll know where their focus was. That is one one positive point; teams should put a little bit of effort to at least not lose their first match to Wakayama #4 High School & Vocational Academy and then perhaps take the tournament more seriously. It also really encourages local teams to win that first match to have a game that matters against an honest-to-goodness big name pro team. The format also makes it much more likely for J2 teams to make it far into the tournament. All the better chance for Mito to win, enter the ACL, and end up as world champions in 2010! If seedings took place in J2 at the same time or after JFL's seeding, it means Mito would play a JFL seeded team. Could be worse, but could be better. Right about now Mito would rather like last year face Fukuoka in the first match.

Assuming the above is true, Mito's match would be against one of the following teams depending on if the team was seeded while 7th or 8th place in the J2 standings:

Yokogawa Musashino FC (with former Mito top team and youth squad players)
JEF United Reserves (which theoretically could take on JEF United top squad players at will, although the reverse is not true and so quick swaps to win against J. League teams is unlikely)

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