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Seoul vs Busan: Preview

I've been terrible with getting previews/reviews (or posts in general) up for Busan, hopefully that will start to change in the coming weeks (although I promise nothing, sorry). The international break is officially done with, which means that the K League will once again recommence. Busan will lock horns with the boys from the capital in their first game back.

Who: FC Seoul vs Busan IPark FC
When: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 7:30pm KST
Where: Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
Why: K League Classic Round 16
TV/Stream: TBS/Naver, Daum, Afreeca


Seoul News

Last we spoke, I believe Seoul was floating right above Busan in the table and I mused (rather cruelly for Seoul fans) on Twitter that it may be a good thing (for the league) if the big capital club got relegated. *it may have given the ownerships a kick in the butt to spend more and actually invest in the teams rather than just go year-to-year* Fast forward to present day and that scenario looks far from reality as Seoul has rocketed up the table to 3rd in the table, and are level on points with rivals Suwon (25 points).
How have they done it? They've started to crank out the odd goal here and there. Since Seoul beat Busan, the capital club has gone on an unbeaten run over their last five matches, winning four and drawing once. That run included big wins over the Jeolla teams (Jeonbuk, Jeonnam), a late comeback over Daejeon, and a draw with Ulsan. Granted they lost twice to reigning J League champions Gamba Osaka during that span to get dumped out of the Asian Champions League, but that may end up being a league blessing for them.
This guy has scored a couple lately. Will he come good? Photo courtesy of OSEN.

Busan News

While Seoul has gone on an impressive run to bound up the table, Busan has continued to flounder and remain in 11th place and the relegation playoff spot. Fortunately the table is so tight, a good week or two and Busan could easily find themselves close to the top half. The team remains light on goals and susceptible at the back, but they've shown that when they're "on" they can create problems for most teams in the league. The problem (one of many) is that the team still cannot seem to maintain the necessary intensity for the full ninety minutes, so they often crack eventually.

Defender Ahn Se-hee is the only officially missing player (suspended), but I would be surprised to see Joo Se-jong start this one. Joo didn't play much for the national team after his call-up (following Jeonbuk's Kim Ki-hee dropping out due to injury), but the team just returned from Thailand, so this one may just be a day or so too soon for Joo to make it into the starting XI.

Joo Se-jong makes his Korean national team debut
Joo's potential miss could be crucial for Busan's hopes of snatching a point in Seoul, as the team doesn't really have another player that can step into his shoes as the deep playmaker unless Yoon Sung-hyo is willing to throw 19 year-old Kim Jin-kyu into the role (which he won't). Instead I'd expect to see a very workman looking team in the middle that runs a lot and doesn't do much else (probably Park Yong-tae and Jeon Sung-chan).

Prediction

Seoul should take this one. Busan rarely wins in Seoul, and the likely absence of Joo Se-jong will probably be too much for the team to compensate for.

Seoul 2 - 0 Busan

Minor Note

I suppose we can't skip the fact that the country is very much in a mini-panic about MERS. Seoul is very much the epicenter of the crises, and it seems necessary to mention it at least a bit. I do hope people turn out for the game (although midweek matches rarely draw significant crowds). But if you go to the game please be safe and take the necessary precautions. Wear a mask, wash your hands, be mindful of others who seem sick, etc.

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