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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Suwon FC

K League 2 Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Suwon FC

We might be getting into the business end of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, but for Korean football fans, the K League 2 finally returns this weekend. Saturday evening’s kick off will see a second division 'Super Match' between Seoul E-Land and Suwon FC, in Jamsil. The two sides are level on points in 8th and 9th position, and a victory for either team could mean a lot more than just bragging rights for the winners.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Seoul E-Land’s last game before the World Cup break was an away trip down to 1st placed side Asan Mugunghwa. E-Land came off an impressive 2-0 win against Ansan the week prior and went into the game full of hope for any kind of result.

Asan came into the fixture with other plans; a victory against The Leopards would see them leapfrog over Seongnam into the top spot. It took the home side 37 minutes to score the first goal in the game, with Lee Jae-an making it 1-0. Asan took only three minutes from the restart, to double their lead. A well worked cross into the box, meant a tap-in for Han Eui-gwon in the 40th minute.

The game was put to bed in the 70th minute when Lee Jae-an got his brace, and there was no coming back from Seoul E-Land. Although E-Land had a few chances in both halves of the match, Asan were the far superior outfit in the fixture and showed E-Land leaks at the back of the field. In Chang-soo decided to put three at the back, in a hope to attack the game. However, Asan were too strong up front and made E-Land suffer dearly.

Highlights of the fixture can be found here

Suwon had a better showing in their last game against bottom of the table, FC Anyang. Jeong Woo-geun slotted the ball home from a spot kick in the 13th minute to give Suwon the win. Suwon’s victory has come off three straight defeats and was much needed for a morale boost in the side.

The game also saw an attendance of over 2300 people in the Suwon Civic Stadium, an impressive feat for a K League 2 side. The attendance will be something E-Land could truly admire, compared to their 300-500 fans that they have managed to get into the door this season.

Highlights of the game can be found here

Previous Meetings

The last meeting between the two sides, was all the way back in March, for the first game of the K League 2 season. The match was played in Suwon and it was the home team which came away with the 1-0 win.

The game was a good indication to see which team still showed a bit of rust from the offseason, and it was clear to see that Suwon were the more prepared outfit in the game. A goal from Kim Dong-chan clinched the tie in the 39th minute, with the majority of chances coming from Suwon in the game.

Seoul E-Land looked floppy and unable to deal with the long balls from the Brazilian Alex Lima, and the scoreline really could have been more, if it wasn’t for the heroics of Yoo Ji-hun, keeping the strike force at bay.

The game ended with an opening day defeat for Seoul E-Land, which left them last in the table as the first round drew to a close. Since then, E-Land has been only slightly better than Suwon in the standings, and this game could be vital for either team to progress.

Team News

Seoul E-Land have had a busy June, picking up three new players ahead of the window opening in July. All three signings come from Gyeongnam FC and includes Croatian defender Ivan Herceg. The other two signings are Lee Hyun-seong, who will play in midfield and Ahn Sung-bin who is a striker.

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Ahn Sung-bin (left), Ivan Herceg (middle) and Lee Hyun-seong (right), have all moved from Gyeongnam FC, to Seoul E-Land in the summer transfer window. Photo Credit: (www.facebook.com/Seouleland)
With E-Land’s dealings in the transfer market, they have also confirmed that defender Yoo Ji-hun will go the other way and play the rest of the season as a Gyeongnam FC player. The defender played nine times for E-Land this season and would have found it more difficult to be involved in the side, with the purchase of a new defenders.

Seoul will have Jeon Min-kwang suspended for the tie against Suwon, after picking up a third yellow card against Asan in the match prior. Regardless of this, it has been reported that Min-kwang has picked up a slight injury this week, and his presence would have been in doubt, regardless of the suspension.

E-Land will also be without Kim Jae-woong, who also picked up a suspension in the Asan game. With the two defenders unavailable for the game, it will really give the fans an insight to see how the new signings will gel into the E-Land team.

The Adversary

It started so well for Suwon FC at the start of the season, their opening home game was met with over 2,600 fans, and a real sense of optimism showed in their first victory of 2018. The wheels truly did fall off however as the season has progressed, and Suwon have already registered ten losses this season, the most in the league.

However, Suwon have also added to their squad this transfer window, picking up Jang Seong-jae from Ulsan Hyundai. The 22-year-old forward has only played twice this season for the first division side and will hope to get more game time at Suwon.

The club also acquired Lee Sang-min, on loan from Samsung Bluewings. The move comes with Sang-min not even making an appearance for the cross town Suwon side, and the defender will look to get more experience with this transfer.

Furthermore, Suwon have once again, signed midfielder Kwon Yong-hyun for the third time in his career. The Korean spent two years, from 2013-2015 at the club in his first stint, before leaving for Jeju United. Yong-hyun played five games for the island team, before being loaned back to Suwon. The player then moved to Gyeongnam FC in 2017, spending only one and a half seasons at the club. The midfielder has scored 18 goals for Suwon throughout his career, and even though he is more of a creative midfielder than a goal scorer, he will hope to add to that tally in his debut back on Saturday

I spoke with our Matthew Binns about the form Suwon FC currently find themselves in:

"As we take stock half way through this season, it's clear to see out of our site predictions, the dismal campaign that Suwon FC are currently enduring was perhaps the one that no one saw coming. The board heavily backed manager Kim Dae-eui during the preseason yet his investments have not really beared fruit"

"Despite protests from the fans regarding the manager's tenure at the end of their last two home games (including after a promising 1-0 victory over FC Anyang), the board have doubled down and continued to support Kim, allowing him to purchase more players in the window. Hopefully these will represent a better return on the club's investment after the transfer window opens on July 2nd and they are eligible to play"

"As for the performances, Suwon FC currently boast the unwanted record of a measly ten goals in sixteen games, the worst in the division. Furthermore, when they do get the ball in the back of the net, they are unable to go on and double their tally, having not chalked up two league goals in a match this season. Sometimes, it is not for want of trying, with chances being created regularly through games, but they have lacked the composure to finish these opportunities"

"Suwon have also struggled with injuries, with key signings such as renowned forward Kim Dong-chan being regularly sidelined. On the occasions where he has returned, it has often looked too soon and has been followed by him being out of the squad the following game. Hopefully, this short World Cup break will have given some of the players time for ample recovery as the team looks to make a late ascent for a promotion bid"


Prediction

With the K League 2 finally back, after it’s three-week break, both teams have had the pleasure of resting a full squad in that time. With that being said, they will both want to get a result as they are sat level on points with one another in the league.

You would have to say Seoul, have had the better season so far, as they still have two games in hand, having only played 14, compared to Suwon’s 16. Also, with the game being at home for the capital’s second team, you would have to favor their home advantage.

With that being said, E-Land will start with at least one new signing in the squad in defense so I can see Suwon getting a goal, as they will have not gelled so soon in training sessions alone.

As the K League 1 is still in hiatus from the Fifa World Cup, I hope the attendance will be better than what we have seen, as it will be only one of three games this Saturday.

Predicted Score: Seoul E-Land 2-1 Suwon FC

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