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2017 Season Preview: Busan IPark

Another season is upon us, and with it brings another year of hope for Busan sports fans. Will this be the year, a Busan club finally fulfills fans' dreams, or will it be another year of disappointment following so much promise? 
(photo credit - Busan IPark homepage)

Last Season

Place: 5th
Won: 19
Drew: 7
Lost: 14
Points: 64
Out of Playoffs In: 1st round

What Happened

Busan started terribly, and seemingly flirted with a bottom third finish. However, a terrific late season run (plus Ansan's exclusion from promotion/playoffs) saw the team finish 5th and qualify for the playoffs. It wasn't to be though and the club lost 0-1 to Gangwon in the first round.
New boy, Romulo, looks set to be a big piece of the Busan attack. Is he up for the challenge? (Photo credit: Busan IPark homepage)

Notable Moves 

1. Bringing back (and keeping) Lee Jeong-hyeop: Lee Jeong-hyeop tends to polarize opinion based on his national team exploits, but he should certainly be a Challenge level forward. Lee is not technically excellent by any stretch, but he does offer movement off the ball, and should help bring players like Lim Sang-hyub, Ko Kyung-min, and Lukian into the attack. Busan-born, national team experience, and decent quality; Lee is the kind of player Busan needs (in theory) to get the team back up.

2. Lukian - Busan replaced the departing Popp with another Brazilian (shock). Lukian comes from Bucheon, where he scored a handful of goals for the Gyeonggi-do club. He seems to have done quite well in preseason matches, so hopefully he will continue where Popp left off.

3. Danny Morais - An experienced defender, Danny will hopefully form a nice partnership with (seemingly) Lim Yu-hwan at the back. The backline looks like it will undergo a significant shift in personnel from last season with Nilson Junior leaving and Cha Young-hwan seemingly being pushed up into the holding midfield role. So, hopefully the two veterans can help keep things tight.


As I pointed to in the "Transfer Talk" post, Busan remains quite weak in central midfield. The days of Park Jong-woo and then Joo Se-jong seem quite far away. Busan did not really sign any midfielders, signaling that the club intends to push forward with the ones we've got - an iffy choice in my opinion (unless Cho plans on largely bypassing the midfield when playing). I don't personally have much faith in the likes of Lee Gyu-seong, and it will be "interesting" to see how Cho fills out his midfield. Cho has played a 4-4-2 diamond(?) in a few of the preseason matches, with Cha Young-hwan filling in as the holding midfielder. New boy Kim Moon-hwan has featured several times as well. New signing Romulo looks to figure as the primary attacking midfielder. Ko Kyung-min has also been assigned to the midfield on a few occasions this preseason.

Lim Sang-hyub watches from the sidelines. Will he play a role in Busan's push for promotion?
(Photo credit: K League via Naver)

Key Player

The 10. The trequartista. A magical position, and one Busan seems likely to lean on this season with Cho fielding a 4-4-2 diamond/4-3-1-2/4-2-3-1/3-4-1-2 during preseason. On paper Romulo or Ko Kyung-min seem the likely players for this role with Hong Dong-hyun, Jeong Seok-hwa, and maybe Lim Sang-hyub as other options. 

Reason to Watch

Finally a turn towards attacking football? Under previous managers, Busan has been a fairly drab team to watch. Combine that with a subpar atmosphere at the Asiad, and Busan games can be a drag even for loyal supporters. However, Cho Jin-ho tends to play a nice, flowing style (with Daejeon and Sangju), so perhaps some fun matches can be expected down south? The majority of transfers have been attackers and defenders, so there is reason to believe that Cho will be looking to play a fairly attack-minded game and use all that firepower. 
New boss Cho Jin-ho watches. (Photo credit: Busan IPark Facebook page)

Biggest Question 

Can we get promoted?! The ownership seem ready to keep salary levels a little on the higher side (for a Challenge team), but will that continue if the team fails once again to gain promotion? The team looks decent on paper, but this year the Challenge will be quite... uh... challenging. Seongnam, Daejeon, Asan, Seoul E-Land, Bucheon, all seem like they could be promotion contenders. Hopefully, Cho Jin-ho can work his magic and get us up to the Classic.

1 comment

  1. Completely agree with the midfield problem. I'm surprised we didn't try to resign Kim Young-sin, seeing as he ended up in the Challenge anyway. Not the level of Park Jong-woo or Ju Se-jong, but at least he had plenty of experience and a touch of class about him.


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