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2019 Season Preview: Ansan Greeners

2019 Season Preview: Ansan Greeners K League 2
For what will be the third year into the Greeners project, Ansan hope to finally move away from the foot of the K League 2 table and begin bothering the play-off positions. Appointed late last season, Lim Win-seop has had the winter window in which to begin building his own team, but can he be the one to lead the Green Wolves forward?


Last Season

W10 D9  L17 9th place

What Happened?

Ansan had three managers, and ended up repeating their 2017 9th placed finish. Some highs, including coming from behind to beat Daejeon 3-2 with only nine men, was offset with a host of lows including a nine-game losing streak, and some heavy defeats.

2018 Season Review: here

Notable Moves

The biggest name to leave the Greeners over the winter was Raul Tarragona, 2017 Ansan Foreign Supports Club Player of the Season, and the most lethal striker in Ansan Greeners history. After an injury plagued 2018, the Uruguayan moved on to Kelantan in Malaysia, after two years at the Wa. Hwang Seong-min moved on to Jeju United, meaning that after a season of goalkeeper rotation, Lee Hee-seong will likely be the number one for 2019. Forward Park Kwan-woo (one goal in 2018) left for Seongnam, and fan favourite Seku Conneh departed for Serbian side Vojvodina.

Ansan brought in a trio of players to fill up there recently emptied foreign player quota (though Brazilian Fidel is still on the books) with Japanese striker Ishida Masatoshi in from Kyoto Sanga, former Gyeongnam winger Fauver from Paraná Soccer Technical Center in Brazil, and Gustavo Vintecinco from Bragantino in the Brazilian third tier.

After previously bringing in players from the National League, such as Kwak Seong-uk joining from Gimhae, the Greeners have looked to improve the overall quality of the squad by bringing in some proven K League talent such as: goalkeeper Hwang In-jae from Seongnam, defenders Kim Jin-rae from Suwon Bluewings, Lee Min-kyu from FC Seoul, Yun Son-ho from Kochi United, Lee Joon-hee, as well as midfielder Kim Dae-yeol from Daegu, Yoo Ji-min from Bucheon, and forwards Cheong In-yoo from Gangwon, and Bang Chang-joon. Although a lot of these players were not prominent at their former clubs, it still represents a greater talent pool than what Ansan were previously pulling from.

There were some significant players signing back on as well, not least 2018 AFSC Player of the Season, assist machine Jang Hyeok-jin, along with captain Park Jun-hee and defender Lee In-jae.  

Key Player

Jang Hyeok-jin


Player of the Season in 2018, contributing eight assists and three goals, Jang looked set to make a deserved move further up the K League, so when he committed his future to Ansan, it felt like the most significant signing of the window. Capable of running the midfield, his partnership with Raul in 2017 produced a potent attacking force and with a big change in faces in the Ansan frontline, Jang is the key to getting them scoring. Jang also won the K2 with Sangju in 2016, can he lift the trophy again for Ansan?

Young Player to Watch

Lee Geon, now 23 had a breakout season in 2018, and he is expected to push on this year, while defender Hwang Tae-hyeon was recently called up for the 2019 U20 World Cup side, and could begin edging in from the periphery of the team. Kwak Ho-seung has also joined from MLS side Portland Timbers, and could make an impression in midfield at some stage this season.

Biggest Question

Is Lim Win-seop the one the lead Ansan forward?

Last summer, Lee Heung-sil was dismissed after a run of nine straight defeats, so after caretaker manager Lee Young-min reversed the team’s fortunes by picking up three wins and two draws in his six games at the helm, it was expected that new permanent manger Lim Win-seop would continue this newfound momentum. It wasn’t to be, and in Lim’s six game examination, the Greeners picked up a paltry five points.

A final day 4-0 thrashing at Gwangju left Greeners fans somewhat jaded going into the winter window, however it can be argued that Lim was simply experimenting with the team with nothing left to play for. The huge overhaul of the squad leaves Lim with no excuses if Ansan cannot build upon their foundation from the past two years, and a pre-season which included two wins against Pohang gives Ansan fans much optimism.

Reason to Watch

This is a new-look Greeners side with a definite upgrade in the overall quality. While some key players have moved on, some of the most crucial have remained, and with a host of overseas signings, there is a lot to be excited about with this new Ansan side. They will be hoping to be in the mixer for the playoffs and should provide concern for the rest of the K2 when looking at the fixture list.


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