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2020 Season Preview: Seoul E-Land

As we welcome the 2020 K League 2 Season, it is safe to say there has been an earthquake-like shakeup over at Jamsil. Multiple players have come and gone from Seoul E-Land, and a new manager is once again at the helm. Can Seoul finally take themselves seriously in 2020? Or will it be three years in a row, crashing to the bottom of the table? 
(Image via www.facebook.com/seouleland)

Last Season

 W-5 D-10 L-21 (10th)

What Happened?

They just never got started. A side with such promise at the start of the season failed to fulfil their expectations. With Kim Hyun-soo taking charge, and the signings of Alex and Durate to add to the side. Seoul looked to be contending for the playoffs. They looked like a force up the top of the field. That was there undoing, however, as the defence suffered immensely for the whole campaign.

When Kim Hyun-soo called it a day, and caretaker boss Woo Sung-yong took over, the play got slightly better. They changed to a  3-4-3 formation, which gave them fire upfront. That was also to be their undoing as they did not concentrate enough on their defence, which lead to a leakage of goals, almost every game.

There was a lack of leadership in the side, a lot of talent was on offer, but they did not know how to merge it all together. Further to add to this, their away form was abysmal. With only six points picked up on the road, three draws and one win.

Notable Moves

The biggest departure coming out of the E-Land camp this year is the departure of Kim Young-kwang. The veteran goalkeeper finished his contract with Seoul. A Seoul E-Land player through and through, he had time to lead his teammates, he will be missed by the fans on the terraces. Seoul have signed 20 players by the time of this article being published. They are completely going for a new, young, team.

Most noticeable Korean signing will be Lee Sang-min. The ex-Ulsan Hyundai defender lead the Under-23 Korean national team to victory in the Asain U-23 Championships in January. A player with great leadership for his age, he will bring stability to a weak defence.

As for Seoul E-Land's foreign quota, they have been busy with that too. They announced Striker Leandro Ribeiro first, who is looking to play first-team regular in the side. He comes from Romanian side FC Sheriff. A player who has confidence with the ball at his feet. Leandro looks like he can break down some tight defences this year. Seoul also made the acquisition of German forward, Richard Sukuta-Pasu. The German has played for noticeable clubs such as Bayer Leverkusen and Fc St. Pauli. It looks as if Sukuta-Pasu is a bit of a journeyman, with Seoul E-Land being his 11th club in his career, (14th if you include German Club B teams). Hopefully, he can find his feet in the capital, and have an impact in 2020

Key Player 

Leandro Ribeiro

The new boss Chung Jung-yong will be focused on keeping a tight ship at the back for Seoul E-Land this season. It will be down to Leandro to make his moves up the pitch. He will be relied upon to score over 15 goals for Seoul this season if they are to take themselves seriously. At the age of 25, Leandro will have pace and stamina on his side, which will be useful in the summer months.
Leandro Riberio signed for Seoul E-Land in January 2020. (Image via www.facebook.com/seouleland.com)
Seoul have experimented and failed multiple times with foreign signings in the previous seasons. Hopefully, a player who is still trying to establish himself in the world of football is a step in the right direction for Seoul.

Young Player to Watch

Lee Sang-min

At the age of 22, I am sneaking Lee Sang-min into this category. A defender with international silverware to his name, he knows how to lead a team to victory. Lee partnering up with fellow Ulsan defender Kim Su-an will come in handy, and a partnership will be formed. Lee Sang-min has been loaned to Seoul E-Land, looking for game time.

This is a big season for him to prove himself if he is looking to move back to Ulsan in 2021 and be in their starting 11. Chung Jung-yong has called in a lot of favours from his managerial friends this transfer window. Yet this one seems the most exciting.

Biggest Question 

Can they finally get it right this year?

It has been a constant decline for Seoul ever since the 2015 season. In 2018, Seoul came dead last, in 2019, it was more of the same. This is a club with financial backing in the capital of the country. To say they are underachieving would be an understatement. Even the most loyal of fans are starting to question their sanity in these dark days of the leopards.

They need to get out of the 10th place in 2020, this can not happen three years in a row. If that is the case, they might as well shut up shop, as they are never going to succeed. I remember saying last year, that 2019 was a do or die situation.

However, this year, the big guns are out. It looks as if they have pulled some massive strings in getting Chung Jung-yong in to manage the side. The signings are a higher calibre for what Seoul should actually be signing, and they are playing once again in Seoul. If the leopards manage to mess this one up, then that might be all she wrote.

Reason to Watch 

The foundations have been laid for something special to happen this year. 

Playing once again in the beautiful and historic Seoul Olympic stadium is always something to draw fans to Seoul E-Land. The fans are passionate and are always ready to cheer for their team. On the pitch, Chung Jung-yong has a young team, looking to prove themselves early on in their career.

Seoul will have a fast and energetic group of players, who will run at teams. Other squads in the league have also done well in the window. However, it's easy to say Seoul have had one of the best. If they can control their defence better than they have done in the past, then Seoul could be an underdog in this 2020 campaign.

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