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2019 Season Preview: Seongnam FC

Having dominated most of the K League 2 last season Seongnam enter the 2019 season freshly promoted to K League 1. With a fresh mix of young talent and veteran experience, the team will seek to prove that its ready to face the tough competition that the K League 1 has to offer. 

Last Season

18W 11D 7L, 2nd place in the K League 2.

What Happened?

After failing to be promoted back to K League 1 in 2017, Seongnam got off to a hot start in their 2018 campaign going undefeated in their first 12 matches, with 8 victories and 4 draws. The magpies cooled off just a bit in June and July before picking it up again. Seongnam clinched second spot in the table with a 1-0 win against fellow Gyeonggi-do team, Suwon FC, in their penultimate match. The one goal coming from the foot of Brazilian import, Éder

Seongnam FC were promoted directly to the K League 1 despite finishing second due to the controversy surrounding Asan Mugunghwa, which ultimately ended with Asan being unable to move up to the top flight. 

Notable Moves

Addition of Mathias Coureur - Right Winger / Forward

The 30 year old Martinique international has bounced around a lot in his career. He started in the lower French and Spanish leagues, and has played in both Georgia and Bulgaria. Most recently he was with Kaisar, of the Kazakhstan Premier League, before singing with Seongnam FC. Seongnam believes his pace and technique will play a big factor in creating goal scoring opportunities and with his amount of international experience adjusting to Korea shouldn’t be an issue.

Addition of Choi Oh-baek - Right Winger

One of Seoul E-Land’s main players, Oh-baek, appeared in 35 matches with 28 starts last season and while not known for his goal-scoring, he was often able to push the ball forward down the wings. After a falling out with E-Land last season he will be looking for a fresh start with Seongnam, and for their part, Seongnam will be looking to him to prove he’s worthy of being a big time player in the K League 1.

Addition of Kim Dong-hyun - Defensive Midfield

The young 21 year old defensive midfielder spent last season with Gwangju FC, in K League 2, on loan from Pohang Steelers. He’s highly rated as a potential prospect for the Korea U-23 team which will attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Seongnam will look to him to strengthen their defense and prove he can last in the strong K League 1. He will be one of Seongnam’s young players to watch this season.

Departure of Yun Young-sun

A member of the 2018 Korean world cup squad, Young-sun is a standout center-back who was a key player in many of Seongnam’s early season victories. Though his biggest match of the year was no doubt the final match of the group stage at the world cup, where he and the rest of the Korean defense held off an onslaught of German attacks for the full 90 minutes. His presence and international experience will be missed in Seongnam’s back line. 

Key Player

Éder Lima

Fan favorite, Éder Lima is returning to Seongnam this season as the team’s no. 2 goalscorer (7 last season) and leader in shots on goal (36). Éder played a crucial role in Seongnam’s success last season and fittingly scored the game winning goal against Suwon FC that solidified Seongnam’s second place finish and promotion. Seongnam will look to him to help lead the offense, especially the young guys, and capitalize on chances to score. His experience both in Brazil and in the K-League 1, with Jeonbuk, should be a valuable asset as Seongnam try to prove its worth in the top flight.

An additional key player to watch will be Goalkeeper Kim Dong-jun who is returning from an injury that had him sidelined for most of last season. In the past Dong-jun has been a fringe consideration for the national team and was even called up during some of Korea’s world cup qualifiers, though he didn’t see any action. Should he return to form his abilities and experience could prove to be a big asset for Seongnam.

Young Player to Watch


In addition to Kim Dong-hyun, who was mentioned above, recently acquired midfielder Lee-geon, who played last year with the Ansan Greeners, is a top young prospect to watch. He made a strong impression last season when he scored two goals against Seongnam in week 12. Additionally he was a member of the Korea Republic team for the 2018 AFC U-23 championship and made an appearance playing the full 90 minutes in a quarter final victory against Malaysia.

Biggest Question

Does Seongnam have what it takes offensively to stay in the top flight?

Though finishing second in the table, and being the 4th best goalscorers in the league last season, Seongnam owe much of their success in 2018 to their strong start. Seongnam won 8 out of their first 13 matches and in that time period scored 24 goals, nearly setting a pace of 2 goals per match. However, in their final 23 matches they scored only 25 goals, pacing just slightly above 1 goal per match. It’ll be interesting to see if Seongnam, with their newcomers, will be able to create more chances to score and keep up with the better teams in the K League 1. 

Reason to Watch

Seongnam is a team with a storied K League and AFC history, so being relegated to K League 2 was a huge blow to the team's pride. When this team is playing well they are a joy to watch and with the fresh young talent joining this year it will be fun to see Seongnam attempt to prove that they belong in the K League 1.

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