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2009 Serie A Season Review: Lecce

Team Overview: Lecce was promoted to Serie A for the first time in 1985, and nearly 25 years later they have failed to maintain their spot in soccer’s supreme division. After a remarkable promotion run in 2008, Lecce is already heading back to Serie B (for the 7th time) after ending the season as the kaboose of the Serie A league table.

Top Performers: Lecce didn’t have many stars, but forwards Simon Tiribocchi (8 goals, 5 assists) and Jose Ignacio Castillo (7 goals, 4 assists) kept them in many games. Their defense though was abhorrent by Serie A standards, and goalkeeper Francesco Benussi (1.67 goals per game) faced a firing squad many afternoons.

Highest High: You know you had a bad season when your highest high came at the beginning of the year. Lecce had a great September with a 2-1-1 record, but that was nearly nine months ago and it was the only month they had a winning record all year. But, that month did feature wins over Chievo and Cagliari, so it was as good as it got.

Lowest Low: There were many lowpoints for the disappointing Salentini. They gave up more goals than any other team, and from February to April they conceded more than 2 per game on average. Their toughest loss came on May 17th when they dropped points to rival Bologna on a game winning goal during extra time.

Future Outlook: Lecce must head back down to Serie B, and they have many holes on their roster to fill and places where their strategy could improve. Their two best offensive players (see above) are getting old (mid-30s), and their defense is obviously in shambles. If they seek promotion in 2010, they need both youth and defense.