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Busan IPark vs FC Seoul: Preview

Hmmmm, where to start with this one? I can't really think of a good intro, so I won't. Onwards!

Who: Busan IPark vs FC Seoul
When: Sunday, May 10, 2pm
Where: Asiad Main Stadium, Busan, South Korea
Why: K League Classic, Round 10
Watch: On TV on Busan MBC or TBS. On the internet on Naver/Daum/Afreeca

Courtesy of www.busanipark.com


Seoul

To be honest I never liked it much. It's not really the city's faulty (probably more the government), but it always seems to want to hoover up anything good/promising in Korea leaving the rest of the country to fight for the scraps. Virtually everything in Korea - business, entertainment, government - is all in Seoul. The only thing not is industry, which let's face it, is probably too dirty for them anyway. Winters are bloody freezing, summers ridiculously hot and humid. Perhaps you need to live there to fully appreciate the city, but it's simply not for me. I am much happier here on Korea's more comfy southeast, but I digress. 
Seoul also has FC Seoul who is owned by the GS Group. In the past they were known as LG Anyang Cheetahs. The club has also produced some of Korea's better known talents such as Ki Sung-yueng, Lee Chung-yong, and Park Chu-young. Son Heung-min also used to be a part of their youth system before he skeedadled off to Germany. Many other famous Korean footballers pulled on the red and black (or yellow) of Seoul/LG over the years, far too many to name here.

But as time has gone on, the club has lost a bit of it's sheen. Economic woes have seen the owners ship off the club's better players over the years. Dejan, Ha Dae-sung, Kim Ju-young have all left for the more monied shores of China. As such the club's performances have dropped lately. The 2012 season when they ran away with the title, winning it by a whopping 17 points over Jeonbuk seems a distant memory.

Today they sit 10th in the table, one point above the relegation playoff spot. The team was humiliated by rivals Suwon as they crushed Seoul 5-1 in the first "Supermatch" of the season a few weeks ago, and has hardly looked convincing in any match. However, they somehow managed to advance in the Asian Champions League in a group that featured Chinese superpower Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, Western Sydney Wanderers, and Kashima Antlers. So how good are they exactly? It's hard to say. Seoul doesn't excel in any one area, as the defense doesn't seem as water tight as it has in the past. The midfield feels a bit too slow, and the less said about the attack the better. The team, like a lot of K League sides, tends to blow hot and cold. On good days Seoul has strong defending, controls the tempo, and can squeeze out a goal or two. On bad days the defense is leaky, midfield slow, and attack woeful. Who shows up Sunday? Time will tell.

Busan

You could hear the collective sighs of relief emerge from the team's bench after they held on to beat Pohang 2-1 on Children's Day. Prior to that the team hadn't won since the opening day when they beat Daejeon 1-0. Seven games without the taste of success, frustrating for any side, made even more so when you consider the amount of points dropped late (but let's not go into that again). Lately the team's performances have been decent, including against some of the league's stronger sides like Jeonbuk, Ulsan, and Pohang.

Yoon Sung-hyo has continued to try and make minor tweaks to the side to find some improvements here and there. He seems have found a solid defender in young Kim Jong-hyuk and his best forward in Weslley. Han Ji-ho, while not always great at finishing, has provided some much needed pace and spark on the wing. Joo Se-jong continues to be a vital playmaker in the middle.

History

Last season the teams split the 3-games 1-1-1. Busan won the first game in Seoul 1-0 thanks to the penalty saving heroics of Lee Bum-young (saved two spot kicks). Seoul won the second game down in Busan 2-0, and then the final game ended in a 1-1 draw in Seoul. All-time Seoul has a slight edge between the two in their 142 meetings over the years. Seoul has won 52 times to Busan's 44 wins (there have been 46 draws).


Final Thoughts

This one should be fairly even as neither has lit the world on fire thus far. Busan should have a slight edge in that it's being played in Busan and they're coming off a morale boosting win over Pohang. Of course Seoul also received a morale boost when they came back to beat Kashima 3-2 midweek, but Seoul hasn't (yet) been able to transfer decent ACL performances into league performances. I won't make a prediction because I'm always wrong and I don't want to jinx Busan.

Possible starting lineups courtesy of www.busanipark.com
Busan XI: Lee Bum-young; Lee Gyeong-ryeol, Kim Jong-hyuk, Noh Haeng-seok; Yoo Ji-no, Joo Se-jong, Jeon Sung-chan, Park Joon-gang; Weslley, Bergson, Park Yong-ji

Seoul XI: Yoo Sang-hoon; Cha Du-ri, Lee Woong-hee, Kim Nam-choon, Kim Chi-woo; Go Yo-han, Osmar, Lee Sang-hyub; Molina, Kim Hyun-sung, Yoon Il-lok

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