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2018 K League 2 Mid-Season Grades

As the summer slowly dwindles to a close, so to do a number of K League 2 teams' chances at making the promotion playoffs. The gap between the top and bottom halves of the table has remained narrow throughout the season, and looks set to stay that way into the autumn. Our writers assess all 11 K2 teams and their chances at playing first division football next year. 

Seongnam FC: A

Seongnam are currently sat level on points with Asan Mugunghwa at the top of the K League 2 season. They can proudly boast a record of 11 Wins, Six Draws and four losses. Their tally of 11 wins this season is already only two off their total of last year, as they finished four, losing to Asan in the play offs. Seongnam don't have a fantastic defensive record in the league, although they do lead the way in goals scored in the league. Seongnam are at the top due to their fantastic start to the campaign. They held a record of 12 games without a defeat, with eight of them being wins. Although their form has dipped recently, with only four wins in the last ten league games, I can still see Seongnam continue their push for promotion and finish the year in the same position they are now.
- Michael Redmond (@bmrkorea)

Asan Mugunghwa: A

Asan have had a very good first half of the season, and are now joint leaders at the summit of K League 2 alongside rivals Seongnam FC.  They have good reason to be optimistic heading into the next phase of the competition.  Having come off consecutive goalless draws against Bucheon and Busan IPark, their goal scoring form has been a bit up and down lately, but they are still one of the top scoring teams in the division.  With a favorable slate ahead of them for the rest of August, they look primed to make a run at promotion to the top flight in the second half of the campaign.

- Branko Belan (@BBelan)

Gwangju FC: A-

It took six matches for Gwangju to pick up their first K2 win this season, and they seemed doomed to stay in the second division for another year with a string of lackluster results and unceremonious exit from the FA Cup at the hands of National League side Daejeon Korail. However, a strong summer run that saw them lose just one in ten propelled them into the playoff picture. Led by K2 Golden Boot leader and Asian Games call up Na Sangho, Gwangju have upset the order of things at the top of the table and seem primed to stay there.

- Ryan Walters  (@MrRyanWalters)

Busan IPark: B

Busan are on track for the playoffs once again but neither the results nor the performances have been as impressive as last year. Once again the team has been defensively sound, but the lack of a consistent goalscorer has cost them several points. Too many winnable games have been drawn, and although they will still have a shot at promotion this year, that's really the minimum expected of a squad that boasts a lot of quality.
- Tomas Marcantonio (@TJMarcantonio)

Bucheon 1995: C+

"Bucheon hit the ground running winning their first five games - all of them away from home - propelled by the goal-scoring duo of Gong Min-hyun and Willian Popp. Brazilian striker Popp found the net in each of those opening five victories but has been on target only twice more in fifteen subsequent outings as the goals and the points dried up. Those valuable early runs on the board meant it took until the very end of July for Bucheon to finally slip out of the play-off places and given that at the start of the season, being just a point adrift of 4th place would have been acceptable, they are worth their C+. The addition of Christovam at the back is welcome but at the other end of the pitch, with Jin Chang-soo restricted to second-half substitute appearances, there are few options to take the pressure off the forward two. Solving this will be key as to whether Bucheon can sneak back into the play-offs or end the season in mid-table mediocrity."
- Alastair Middleton  (@korearacing)

Ansan Greeners: C

Ansan flew out of the blocks this season, and looked set to make a surprise attack on the playoff positions. Liberian international Seku Conneh settled well, and Lee Geon and Choi Hojoo emerging as stand out performers in an aggressive and entertaining 3-4-3 formation. However, things have since dropped off a cliff. Just a couple of wins in their last 16 outings has seen the Green Wolves slowly sink away from 4th place. Injuries to key players like the aforementioned Geon and Hojoo along with last season's top scorer Raul have left the Greeners without a consistent first XI. Last season's creative maestro Jang Hyeokjin has also seen a massive dip in form while manager Lee Heungsil has experimented with different line-ups and formations each week. Wa Stadium goers are desperate for Ansan to recapture their early season pomp.
- Mike Brandon  (@ansanfsc)

FC Anyang: C

Despite being rooted to the foot of the table for the most part of the campaign, Anyang are now only nine points away from the playoffs with just 10 points separating third from last. Since round twelve in mid-May, Anyang have lost just twice in the league, winning five and drawing two from nine games. After such a poor start, this run of form has lifted the Violets above Seoul E-Land and, much like any side from sixth downwards, has given them a chance of making the playoffs. Credit must be given to Ko Jeongwoon's side for digging in and grinding out results despite, at one point, looking as though they were cut well adrift. The second tier is wide open this year, certainly from third place downwards and, if the Violets can continue in this purple match of form, they could have their best finish since 2014.
- Paul Neat (@NeatPaul)

Suwon FC: C

Given pre-season expectations, the team has underachieved but is still within touching distance of the playoffs.  Suwon FC have the same number of wins (8) as Busan and Gwangju (in 3rd and 4th) but their inability to change games and get something after going behind (2 draws and 11 defeats) has cost them dearly.  Injuries have been telling but a number of players have under-performed and Kim Dae-eui constantly changed formation and line-up which affected team cohesion.  So, it's no surprise that Suwon FC are the lowest scorers in the division (15 in 21) with seven of their eight victories being by one goal to nil. That said, things have been improving of late and the players seem to be behind Kim so if they start taking their chances the end of season grade could be higher.
- Joe Quinn (@chiefinkorea)

Daejeon Citizen: D

What is expected of the Purples, both amongst their own supporters, and those of other K League cubs, is rather low. Last year was nothing but an absolute disaster, finishing bottom of the second tier but Daejeon really should be doing better than they are. This year Citizen managed to move within just two points of the playoffs heading into round eleven but have since dropped out of the running after a poor run of form. Anything higher than 10th could be seen as progress for Ko Jongsoo's team but with the squad that the former midfield maestro has at his disposal, the Purples really ought to be amongst the play-off chasing pack. A lack of character is evident yet again this year having kissed goodbye to 13 points by conceding in the last 10 minutes of games. The playoff race is far from over but Citizen need to start picking up results soon before they get cut adrift.
- Paul Neat (@neatpaul)

Seoul E-Land: D

"The mid-season sees Seoul E-Land still dribbling around the bottom of the K League 2, just like last season. Although with six wins, five draws, and nine losses, its actually an improvement on last years performance.  Last year saw E-Land draw way too many games in the league, and it looks as if they have dealt with this ever so slightly, with only the five draws. However, they are so unpredictable in the league this year. Seoul E-Land has managed to get vital points off the top teams, with draws against Asan Mugunghwa, Seongnam and Busan Ipark, then they lose to fellow strugglers, Anyang, Suwon and Daejeon Citizen. Seoul E-Land will hope to pick the pace in the second half of the season if they wish to better their position of last year."
- Michael Redmond (@bmrkorea)

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