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2019 Season Preview: FC Anyang

Coming into their 7th straight season in the K League 2, Anyang are once again hoping to break their mid-table tradition with a slue of new talent coming through the doors. With a new manager and eleven young players signed, we look to what the new year could bring for FC Anyang.

Last Season - Record

W12 D8 L16

What Happened

Anyang had a horrendous start to the 2018 campaign, but managed to fight back to a near playoff position. A good run of form helped bring their season back to a respectable 6th place finish. Luckily for Anyang fans the horrible losses were mostly at the beginning of the season, and have long since been forgotten.

Anyang will be wanting to build upon their last 15 games, which saw them rise up the table, but with Alex departed it's going to be tough to replace his goals.

2018 Season Review: Here

Notable Moves

It comes as no surprise that the player that springs to mind, when thinking about this season, is Wesley Alex. Anyang FC's star striker has departed to re-join Seoul E-Land. That transfer sees the club lose over 40% of their goals, from last season, and a focal point to relieve pressure.

It will be interesting to see how Anyang can respond, but Manuel Palacios has been brought in on loan, from Atletico Huila in Colombia. This might be the player to at least plug the gap, if he can adapt well to the Korean game.

Other noticeable moves include Kim Jin-rae, who had a great 2018 season playing at left back, going on loan to Ansan Greeners. Bruno Cantanhede has also been let go and club legend, Kim Tae-ho has been transferred to Incheon United.

In addition, possibly the most worrying transfer business has been the loan players who have not been re-signed. Over six squad players from last season have not rejoined the squad, which means replacements are needed, and time is of the essence.

Breaking reports of former MLS and Suwon FC player, Alex Lima, joining Anyang are forming, and if the reports are true then it looks like a shrewd signing from a squad lacking creativity. They're still missing squad depth, but time is left on the clock.

Key Player

Marcos Antonio: With the large majority of the squad and backroom staff changing, a constant in Anyang's team is likely to be the Brazilian central midfielder or winger, Marcos. With over 30 appearances for the club last season, it's clear to see he is a trusted player. His versatility will be a huge help to the new tactical approach. His experience for the young squad and his overall athleticism will all aid Anyang's push for the playoffs. Marcos doesn't have the strongest numbers and final product was lacking from him last year, but with a lot of attention shifting to him this could be the year his numbers become more noticeable. Pairing that with his now year of experience in the K2, he could also be a catalyst for helping players like Palacios or Alex Lima integrate faster.

Young Player to Watch

Hong Seung-hyeon: The 22 year old right midfielder or right wing back, has arrived on a free transfer from Daegu. The winger played 22 games in the considerably better half of the season for Anyang, last year. His performances in his first season went from strength to strength and with his size and ability on the right flank, he will prove dangerous for most K2 teams.

Expect him to build upon his first full season of professional play, and really showcase his talent. Especially with Anyang's recent signings being mostly strikers and attacking midfielders, it's likely that he will be given the task of supplying the more creative members.

Also look out for Lee Seon-geol. The 21 year old might go under the radar due to his university history, but could be a defensive breakout star.

Biggest Question

The biggest question looming over Anyang's 2019 season is an obvious one. Who is going to score the goals, and are they going to be enough to make the difference? With Alex gone there is a lot of pressure on the team to perform without him.

Anyang have replaced their manager for the coming season and that might mean a philosophy change at the club. With last seasons beginning being as poor as it was, could there be a repeat of last year? Hopefully the players can buy into the new system and get off to a quicker start to the campaign.

Reason to Watch

With a new manager at the helm, and possibly a new philosophy, along with big transfers out and new unknown players brought in, this could be an incredibly unpredictable season for Anyang.

There is a lot to be excited for, as the Anyang board are now dubbing the club as "New Rise FC Anyang".

Plus, if you live near Seoul it's only a short trip to watch some entertaining football with a very friendly fan base.

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