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2024 Season Preview: Will it be 10th Anniversary Celebrations for Seoul E-Land?

The 2024 K League 2 season will be a special one for Seoul E-Land. The Leopards will be celebrating their 10th season as a footballing outfit. Some may have believed that they would have been a lot more decorated over those last ten years than they are now. However, 2024 brings a new sense of optimism for the capital club. 

 This year has seen another big shake-up in the squad and the war chest has been open once more for the side. with now ex-Suwon FC manager Kim Do-kyun at the helm, could it be fireworks for the side in November, or will it be another damp squib? Michael Redmond takes a look at the season ahead.

Last Season

10 W- 5 D- 21 L,  11th


What Happened?

It was another disappointing year for the Leopards in the K League 2. The side had a desire to at least compete for a playoff position. The three-year tenure of Chung Jung-yong was over and Park Choong-kyu was now in to take the group higher. 

Any hope for an impressive season from Seoul was dashed almost instantly as they found themselves 3-0 down at home on the opening game of the season, against the new boys Chungbuk Cheongju. They managed to pull two goals back in that fixture, but it was still a tick in the L column. 


Seoul's first league win was not until their fifth game, where they managed to overthrow Ansan Greeners four goals to one. However, the FA Cup was another story for the side at this time. They battered Bucheon 1995 by six goals in their first outing in the competition, a new club record. Then it was a 2-1 win over K League 1 side Suwon FC. This was noted by an excellent Bruno freekick. They bowed out in the next round to Gwangju in a heartbreaking 90th-minute goal from the visiting team. 
 
Back in the league, it was more of what Seoul E-Land does best, and that's to disappoint. Seoul went eight games without a win over the summer, claiming only two points. For the rest of the season, it was a win here and there followed by a few losses. They also lost their last six games of the season. It was very clear at this time that the squad had already checked out of the 2023 season and already thinking about their next career moves.

It was 11th out of 13th place for the Leopards, a new club low. The only two sides below them were new boys Cheonan City who looked out of their depth and an Ansan Greeners side who lacked the quality seen in previous seasons.

Notable Moves

All five of the foreign signings Seoul had on the books have departed over the off-season. Văn Toàn left over the summer, Bruno and Ronan also made the move out of Korea and Renan never even kicked a ball for the side. It was also announced that Tasbusa has decided to call it a day and has retired from football. Domestically, the big departure was Lee Jae-ik, who made the big move to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. There may have been a lot of departures in the Seoul squad, but the main news came from who has come in. 


The big name on the squad list this season will be former FC Seoul man Osmar. The Spanish defender turned a few heads with his move to the other side of Seoul, however it will be the royal blue of E-Land he will be wearing in 2024. Seoul also dipped into the K League 2 and took the Australian Greek Peter Makrillos from Chungbuk Cheongju. Bruno Costa was also another name in the squad this year, a left winger from Club de Regatas Brazil. Outside of the league, Seoul has brought in Nigerian American Eduvie Ikoba on loan from Portuguese second-division side Académico Viseu FC. 
 
Domestically Kim Oh-kyu and Lim Dong-hyuk both moved from the Island of Jeju to the capital of Korea. We also see Park Min-seo from Gyeongnam and Jeong Jae-yong from Suwon also make the move. It does look again as if Seoul have spent big in the winter transfer season to attempt to make it to the big time.


Key Player 

Osmar

A proven brick wall at the back, Osmar is the man who Seoul needs to steady the ship. Seoul leaked 54 goals last season with only Ansan and Cheonan conceding more. If Osmar can repeat the dominance that he showed for FC Seoul, then E-Land will eliminate a lot more of those 90th-minute goals to see them draw or lose a game.
 

It has been a long time since Seoul has had a leader in the squad. Someone who can control the pitch and give insight throughout the game. I would be surprised if Osmar is not made captain of this side, given his experience and leadership on the field. Osmar could be the man to give Seoul that extra push and encouragement to go out and win week in and week out. The leadership, the fight, and also the teamwork.

Young Player to Watch

Cho Dong-jae

This section was originally penned in for Park Jun-yeong. A forward player who thrived under Chung Jung-yong and had a less than stellar time under Park Choong-kyun. However, it was revealed last week that he would move on to greener pastures. With that in mind, the young player to watch will be Cho Dong-jae. The 20-year-old defender already has a lot of K League 2 experience from the season prior. 

Add this to the departure of Lee Jae-ik means that Dong-jae will have some big shoes to fill in that left-back position. With the guidance of the new inbound defenders making their way into the club, this could be a perfect opportunity for him to develop his skills and learn from what the second division has to offer. This could be a big season for Cho Dong-jae if Seoul can establish a successful season. 


Biggest Question 

Will it be another rinse and repeat?

It seems to be the same story every year in the capital. Seoul bring in a new manager. Seoul brings in some promising players. Seoul never gets off the mark. The players begin to look disinterested. Seoul finishes low in the table. Seoul ends up with no manager and the departure of many players. 
 

This is the same thing over and over again. Can Seoul finally have a season where they invest well, they bring in a capable manager, and finish in a respectable position in the league? Fans are becoming tired of the same old story every season. Fans travel up and down the country to follow and support Seoul with undying affection. The same could not be said for players gone by. Will Seoul finally be able to give the fans something to be proud of?

Reason to Watch 

This is going to be do or die for Seoul E-Land now. If they are not going to have a successful season this year, then how many years more are they able to do this? With that in mind, they have brought in proven defenders, and proven goal scorers. They have a squad who can complete the tasks they have been asked to do. 

They also have a manager who has experienced promotion with Suwon FC. This could finally be a season where we see new and exciting football in Leoul Park. Expect to see a higher tempo, expect to see more goals, and expect to see Seoul climb higher and higher up the table. On Seoul's side, as long as they can remember that they are a football club for fans and not a business, then they will fair well on the opinions from the stands.


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