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Preview: Suwon FC Vs Seoul E-Land

After a long, cold, football-less winter. The K League has finally returned, and a clean slate has been drawn for Seoul E-Land. The Leopards are hoping to rectify their poor season in 2017 and so will be hoping that 2018 will bring a fresh opportunity to put faith back into their fan support, and show that they are a team worth taking note of. The Leopards' opening game is a trip down to Suwon FC, the second division Super Match, as mentioned recently on K League United’s season preview. A tough opener for E-Land, but hopefully a new year can bring a new lease of life to the side.
(image via Seoul E-Land)

Overview

Suwon had a positive finish to the 2017 season with a 1-0 win against Bucheon 1995, and a 4-0 win against Anyang and will hoping to push for at least a playoff position this year. The inhabitants of Castle Park finished 2017 with a record of 11 wins, 12 draws and 13 losses. This time around, they will hope to hit the ground running, and pick up three points at home. Seoul E-Land will have a lot to prove this season. A terrible performance last year will see the side try to prove from the get go that they are still a side to be wary off, both home and away. Come Sunday, is won't be the easiest of tasks for E-Land, especially being away from home but what will their approach be? Keep to a defensive tactic, and try to pick up a vital point away from home, for their first game of the season? Or will they put faith into their new South American signings and play an attacking, game, taking the match to Suwon?

Previous Meetings

Heading into Sunday's clash, Suwon will be hoping to mirror their last performance against E-Land at home: a comfortable 3-1 back in September. A brace from Mo Jae-hyun, and a late goal from Baek Sung-dong ensured of a comfortable win for Suwon. On that occasion, Suwon steamrolled Seoul E-Land, between a period of multiple defeats in a disappointing season. Prior to the 3-1 defeat,m E-Land managed three stalemates against the Suwon side in the other meetings of 2017, drawing 0-0, 2-2, and 0-0 in April, June, and July respectively. E-Land's last win over Suwon was back in 2015, a 5-1 demolition at Castle Park. That season both teams recorded two wins each before a 3-3 draw in the playoffs sent Suwon through due to the home advantage rule.

Team News

Seoul E-Land has been prolific in the transfer window this year and have made two South American signings who have looked decent in the training camp down in Ulsan. The first signing was Venezuelan forward, Daniel Febles who was on loan last season at Primera División Venezolana side Mongagas where the 27 year old scored nine goals in 42 appearances. E-Land gaffer In Changsoo will be hoping that Febles’ presence will bring added energy into the side. His presence can also help E-land find the back of the net, and increase their attack prowess which as been somewhat lacking in recent seasons. E-Land has also signed 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. Hopefully the two South Americans, can be make a great partnership in front of goal and save the side from any more embarrassing defeats starting with Sunday's visit to Castle Park. For Suwon, recent acquisition from Houston Dynamo Alexandre Monteiro De Lima (Alex) could help the side push for that all-important return to the K League 1 and is expected to be involved on Sunday.

Who To Watch

As mentioned before, Suwon has made a big acquisition having brought in MLS star Alex. His presence could be enough to command the midfield area and create good chances with through balls and plays into the box. Suwon will be making a real push to get back into the K League 1 next season, so to have a demanding central midfielder will be vital for their progression. If he can adapt quickly to the Korean game, then he will be an important player for not only this game, but for the season. For the Leopards', the experience of Jo Chan-ho from FC Seoul, will bring hopefully experience and stability into the side. The two time K League title winner, will keep the wing play flowing for E-Land. Jo Chan-ho can create more crossing chances for their new signings of Febels and Bielkiewicz to convert. Jo Chan-ho’s age can be a factor though, at 31, he is a clear indication that E-Land are not building for the future. Will he be able to play every week and maintain fitness for the side?

Prediction

I am looking forward to the beginning of the season, and a tasty away game to start proceedings. That being said, I just cannot be confident in E-Land getting a result in this game. Suwon are pushing to return to the top flight, whereas E-Land are trying to workout a new style of play with their new manager, In Chang-soo. We are yet to see how their new signings will fair and how well they will adapt to life in Korea. I am glad to get this game out of the way for E-Land, as a win doesn’t seem too likely.

Suwon FC 2-1 Seoul E-Land



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