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2020 Season Review: Seoul E-Land FC

 

2020 was a pivotal year in the history of Seoul E-Land. A side that finished last in the previous two seasons, the Leopards needed a big campaign if they were to show their worth in the K League. Although the capital club missed out on a playoff spot in heartbreaking fashion on the last day of the season. It was still been a memorable year for the faithful fans of the club. Michael Redmond looks at the highs and lows of Seoul E-Land throughout the 2020 K League 2 Season.


What Went Well


A lot of things happened in the offseason which boosted Seoul with confidence. First, that change in the managerial role came when Chung Jung-yong was appointed to take the helm. A manager known for his excellence in the 2019 U20 World Cup, leading the Korean national team to the final. The boss brought in some established young stars in Kim Tae-hyun and Lee Sang-min. He also brought in Ko Jae-hyun and Jang Yun-ho who boosted the midfield throughout the year. The general squad were playing at a lower average age than most other teams in the division. 

Chung Jung-yong has transformed a drab Seoul E-Land side, into a side pushing for promotion.

Seoul also woke up played good football, when they needed it the most. Seoul went undefeated against Jeonnam Dragons, Daejeon Hana Citizen, and Gyeongnam FC this year. The three teams who were also in the mix for the valuable playoff spots. Seoul also took all available points of Bucheon FC 1995. Seoul this year played with a lot more confidence and strung a lot of good results their way. Now if you compare that with last year when they went on a ten-game losing streak. It is a massive improvement. 

Seoul also defended a lot better than last year. Although there were a few slip-ups here and there. The side looked a lot more organized at the back. Taking note there were nine fewer games this year compared to 2019. This year Seoul conceded 30 goals where last year they conceded 71. It was a welcoming sight to not see the ball constantly being collected from the back of the net. 

What Didn't Go Well

Seoul E-Land had a good season, but they did not have a perfect one. There were many times in the season, where they either did not show up or did not perform to the best of their abilities. This is especially apparent when you look at the teams lower down the table. Only one win against Ansan and Asan, Two losses and one draw against Anyang. These were teams that if they were beaten and got the job done like the team was capable of, then there would not have been upset on the last day of the season. 

Seoul E-Land often fell short to teams such as Suwon Fc.

There was also a gap between the top two and Seoul. The Leopards did not beat Jeju United or Suwon in 2020 and maybe it goes to show that they are were not quite at the K League 1 level yet. A lot would say that Seoul was the best of the rest, but improvements will need to further be made if they are to make the jump.

The team for the majority of the season played excellent in all areas, it was just the games where they lost to the teams further down the league which was the issue. Seoul should have taken so many games by the scruff of the neck. The biggest example of this is not even in the league but in the Korean FA cup. Seoul were cruising 2-0 up against Jeju United for the majority of the game. Jeju then scored two goals in injury time, and then went on to win the game in extra time.

Young Player of the Year 

Kim Tae-hyun

Kim Tae-hyun was a regular player in the 2020 Seoul E-Land side.

All signs pointed to Lee Sang-min here for a lot of fans of the Korean national team football. However, I think Kim Tae-hyun pips him to the post here. Lee Sang-min made some questionable decisions throughout the year. Credit is due with Sang-min, he showed real leadership qualities by pulling his team together and getting them to think about the game. However, the Ulsan loanee made some catastrophic errors throughout the year, which lead to some goals being conceded. Lee Sang-min will more than likely have one more year in Seoul to show what a special talent he is. 

Kim Tae-hyun played regularly for Seoul throughout the year. A quick defender who knew his role at left-back (normally in a 3-4-3 formation) he held the defence and stopped potential attacks due to his agility. Seoul will look to hopefully keep Kim Tae-hyun for one more season. Improving his skill even more, and continuing to line the defence for the Leopards.

Team MVP 

Leandro

Seoul E-Land's MVP could only go to one player. since coming into the side, Leandro has been nothing short of spectacular for Seoul this year. The fast Brazilian attacker was a headache for most defenders in the league. His speed and agility alone lead to him scoring some brilliant goals this year. Leandro would sometimes be benched and come on the second half. Fans noticed the changing of pace when he would come on and Seoul often went from behind to win when he was brought onto the pitch. 

Leandro took Seoul E-Land to another level in 2020.

Leandro got 10 goals in 19 games for Seoul this season. However, that only paints half the picture. Leandro created chances and made space for the rest of the team to score or move further up the field, simply due to his reading of the game and speed alone. Seoul really have a gem in their side with Leandro and they will need to keep him at all costs.

Game of the Season 

Bucheon FC 1995 2-3 Seoul E-Land FC,  Round 8

Seoul had some very memorable games throughout the year. They took three points off some big teams when they needed it most. However, it was one of the earlier games of the season, which really kicked off the well-oiled machine of Seoul E-Land. Round eight of the 2020 K League 2 saw Seoul E-Land make the journey across Seoul and into Bucheon. Seoul went two goals down in the first half. Both goals were penalties with help from VAR. The goals were scored by Barbio and Cho Soo-chul. 

Seoul came out for the second half a completely different side. Leandro clinched the first goal seven minutes after the restart. Bucheon held onto the lead for a further 25 minutes before captain Kim Min-kyun levelled the game for the Leopards. The capital then celebrated in the 89th minute when their MVP Leandro slotted the ball home and claimed all three points away from home. A truly brilliant game for the fans, which will live on in their memories for years to come.  

This was the first game that fans thought that Seoul could really do something special this year. They were used to games being finished at halftime in 2019. Now they have a side who are willing and able to pull back and win from a poor first 45 minutes.


FNR

 

Most Important Decision of the Off-Season

Seoul need to keep the players who have brought them to the dance. The major players this year have really turned some heads in the league. Leandro especially could be on the radar for some K League 1 clubs. The young players have really impressed this year, and Seoul needs to keep hold of them. As given their age and game time this year, they can only further improve throughout 2021. 

Chung Jung-yong will also need to bring in some players who take Seoul to the next level. Seoul needs players who will not slip up against the smaller teams. Seoul needs to have a solid defence and some more strength at the back. Kim Min-kyun had an excellent season for the club and at 32 years of age, Seoul will need someone to follow in his footstep sooner rather than later. 

Can Seoul take it up a gear in 2021?

2020 was a year to remember for Seoul. It may have also have been the best chance for them to be promoted into the K League 1. With the promotion/relegation game back in effect in 2021. Seoul will need to be on top form for the majority of the season if they are in with a chance. They will also have to deal with Busan IPark once more and newly made army side, Gimcheon Sangmu. Seoul will need to add to their strong team and take themselves to the next level. This year was good, but next year needs to be even better.

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