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Off Season Update: Seoul E-Land

It looks like all smiles from what we have seen in the E-Land camp last month. The team have recently returned from a pre-season training camp in China, and manager Kim Byung-Soo will be hoping for a prepared squad. The E-Land manager will hope to put the poor form of the end of the 2017 season behind them and work towards a better 2018 campaign. E-land will hope for a stronger start in March than last time around, failing to pick up a point in their first three opening fixtures in 2017. They will have a tough ask though with an away strip down to Suwon on the opening day, a fixture they lost 3-1 in the last time around. .
(image via facebook.com/SeoulEland)

Team News

E-land have already made waves throughout the transfer market as of late, signing two South American players. Namely Argentinean forward Diego Bielkiewicz, who will wear their number nine jersey. The Argentine scored 10 goals in 26 games last season for Chilean side, Deportes Iquique. His arrival will bring some welcoming attacking options up top for the Seoul team. They have also purchased Venezuelan centre Forward Daniel Febles, who will wear their number 11 shirt. Febles comes to Korea with 9 goals in 42 appearances for his home country team, Monagas. It appears E-Land is looking to add a South American flavour to their attack in the next campaign. Another notable signing for E-Land has been the purchase of Jo Chan-ho, from FC Seoul. The 31-year-old winger has already won two K League titles in his career, one with FC Seoul and the other with Pohang Steelers. His presence will add stability and experience to a team that sometimes lacked real driving force in crucial games. E-Land have also been busy defensively, signing Ahm Ji-ho, from Gangwon FC. Ji-ho will be wearing their number six jersey as he lines up for the team. Former K Leauge experience has seemed to be a bit of a reoccurring theme for E-Land this time around, with additions of 31 year old Ko Cha-won from the Bluewings, and 29 year old Ahm Dong-hyeok from Anyang. They will wear the numbers 10 and 32 respectively as the season gets underway.

Last Season's Performance

In my opinion, I hope to see a better performance from E-Land this time around. The 2017 season was quiet frankly abysmal, and they have struggled to challenge to even make the playoffs since their inaugural season. They have made a lot of signings in the transfer window, but you just need to look at the age of their new recruits to see that they are planning for short term results. Four players range from 29-31. However, their two South Americans are still at a desired age for a long term plan. Bielkiewicz is 27 and Febles is 26, so hopefully they can make an impact for a number of years at the club.

Additionally, E-Land will need to improve holding on to their lead in a game. It became a reoccurring issue for the side to go one or even two goals up and then throw it away, due to their lack of composure of seeing a game out. An especially frustrating game comes to mind when they hosted last year's FA Cup runners up, Busan I’park, in late September. The Leopards were cruising in the first half up two goals and dominating the game, only to concede two goals in four minutes and allow the traveling team to leave the capital with a point. A lot of steadiness and desire to go on and win a game is needed for the side if they want to improve on their disappointing 8th place finish of last year. Hopefully this is where the experience of their new signings comes into effect.

Prediction

I hope to see E-Land move up from their poor position of last season and maybe, just maybe, challenge for a payoff place by the latter stages of the K League 2 calendar. Hopefully their South American forwards can bring the goals during what will be a long hot Korean summer. If they can really pull together when they are a goal or two up, then they should be able to see a game out, unlike the prevailing results from a year ago. Whether from coughing late goals, or being unable to score more on their own, the Leopards saw 14 games end in a stalemate in 2017. Resulting in just seven wins all year. E-Land will have a point to prove this season in an attempt to shake off 2017, their worst performance in the club's short history. Can they do it? Can they hold on to a lead? Will experience overweigh age? Lets at least hope they can actually give the Olympic stadium something to cheer for again as we push on into the newly rebranded Kleague 2 season.

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