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Preview: Seongnam FC vs Suwon Bluewings

Both Seongnam FC and the Suwon Bluewings enter Round 3 of the 2019 K League 1 hoping to turn things around after rough starts. Suwon, recovering from a blowout loss to Jeonbuk, desperately needs to score and take advantage of Seongnam's sluggish offense. For their part Seongnam is looking to build off some positives from their first two matches, feed off the energy of their fans and take advantage of the Bluewings' poor defense. 

Last Time Out

Seongnam FC are not off to a hot start after dropping their first two matches. Looking to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat at Gyeongnam they faced FC Seoul at home. Though fans came in droves to see Seongnam in their home opener their energy wasn’t enough as Seongnam conceded a goal right at the end of the first half and lost what was a somewhat sluggish match from both teams.

Full match highlights can be found here. 

While Seongnam looked sluggish last week the Suwon Bluewings looked beaten down. They conceded four goals against powerhouse and last years champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, and are coming into this match hoping to gain some positive momentum.

Full match highlights can be found here. 

Previous Meetings

Seongnam spent the last two seasons in K League 2 therefore the last meeting between these two teams took place in 2016. They met 5 times that year, 4 times during the K League 1 season and once during the Korean FA cup. They split the season series and Suwon advanced in the FA Cup on penalties.

Team News

Seongnam had an exciting week with the signing of Brazilian striker Jajá Coelho. Jajá who started his career in the Dutch Eredivisie and has played for some high profile teams in Brazil, such as Flamengo and Internacional. He has additionally appeared in the Ukrainian and Belgian leagues and has spent the last two seasons in Thailand.

In 2017 Jajá averaged exactly 1 goal per match with 34 goals in 34 appearances for Buriram United. He then signed with SCG Muangthong United for the 2018 season and though he missed a chunk of the campaign, due to a knee injury, he still was able to play a big role for the team scoring 14 goals in 24 appearances.

Jajá should excite Seongnam fans. One of Seongnam’s big needs was a strong striker up front who can score fast and often, especially since they traded last years top scorer Jung Sung-min. Jajá is described as someone with great strength, flexibility, power and the ability to score. He has the ability to overwhelm his opponents and that kind of player is someone Seongnam needs when it’s crowded in the box

The Adversary

Suwon make the short journey to Seongnam having registered their worst start to a season since 2006. They have had a difficult start to the campaign facing opening fixtures against Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai, but two losses from those games, and six goals conceded would not have been a part of Lee Lim-saeng's plans at the beginning of March.

The debacle at home to Jeonbuk has left the manager in a precarious position and he must now fight to justify his appointment at the helm of such a prestigious club. His decisions to play a back four consisting of only full-backs in the opening game of the season and to field a central midfield made up of a winger and a striker, when they squared off against Jeonbuk, were not only baffling decisions but decisions which also meant that the team was in no fit position to challenge in those games.

Thus far, Lee Lim-saeng has severely mismanaged the squad that he has at his disposal. With a total of 19 players seeing some game time over the first two matches it's clear to see that the manager himself doesn't know what he wants, and this game should be the perfect opportunity for Lee to go back to basics.

However, the Bluewings do have one positive to take from their drab start to the season though, and that is the performance, and impact of new signing Adam Taggart. The Australian appears to have settled right in and is already displaying the talent that saw him chasing for the Golden Boot in the A-League before his switch to Suwon. Taggart is Suwon's only goalscorer in this fledgling season and has shown a willingness to take on the opposing team that no other player in blue has yet shown. He has only made two substitute appearances so far, but his performances can't be ignored much longer and a starting berth should surely be within his grasp.

- Scott Whitelock

Who To Watch

It’s no secret that Seongnam’s offense is lacking and despite the singing of Jajá this week it's highly unlikely he will appear in this game. Seongnam tried a couple different combinations up front but have only scored once in two matches so far and no one has really stepped up and taken control of the offense.

However Kim Min-hyeok does have Seongnam’s only goal and started as a forward against FC Seoul. The majority of Seongnam's shots, in that game, came from Kim and its likely he will continue to earn himself some playing time.

Prediction

Both the Bluewings and the Magpies are off to a rough start this season and so it's crucial for both teams to at least earn a point. It's obvious that both managers are still experimenting with players in different positions and neither team has found its groove. However, Seongnam was able to keep it close against Gyeongnam and played strong defensively against FC Seoul, despite conceding one goal. If Seongnam can jump on Suwon’s weak defense early they should be able to walk away victorious.

Seongnam FC 1-0 Suwon Samsung Bluewings

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