Hey everyone. Tim here. In true Canadian fashion, I’ll start off this post by apologizing – I’m sorry. Over the last few months I’ve been regretfully thrown under piles of algebra and parabolic functions, trigonometry, and our friends sin cos and tan. I’ve discovered a lot though. I’m not going to be a mathematician, I hate chemistry and physics, and the French language is a cruel, shrewd tongue that abounds in devilish grammar rules that have exceptions to exceptions to the exception of the main rule. All this means I haven’t posted as much as I should have or wanted to.
But one must take time for himself once in a while, so I might as well bring everyone up to speed (in a short post) on what’s about to happen in the K League. It could be a very historic night for the Suwon City franchise – and no, I’m not talking about the Bluewings.
Founded in 2003, 수원시민프로축구단 (Suwon City FC) entered the Korea National League, the then second-tier of Korean football. They are a citizen club, owned by the Suwon local government. They won the league in 2010, when they also made it to the Round of 16 of the Korean FA Cup. In 2012, they made their only managerial change to date with Cho Duckjae taking over at the helm of the club. In 2013, they made the jump to the K League Challenge where they finished a respectable 5th place in their first season. Last season, they slipped to 6th.
At the beginning of this season, it is safe to say that few thought they would make it all the way to the promotion playoff final, buried under Sangju’s star-studded team, the new and promising Seoul E-Land franchise, and the relegated sides looking to quickly bounce back into the K League Classic. But yet here they are, having placed 3rd in the table, thanks to a breakout season from their Brazilian forward Japa. They also landed an impressive signing in Sisi, a player who was instrumental in Spain’s second place finish at the 2003 U-17 World Cup, before featuring for Valencia B, Valladolid and Osasuna.
What makes their presence in final match of the K League season even more unlikely is the fact that they’ve had to play every single playoff game. A 3-3 draw saw them progress from the 3rd vs 4th place playoff against Seoul E-Land, with the unique K League tiebreaker rule giving the team higher placed after the regular season that advantage in each playoff tie. They then kept Johnathan and Daegu quiet in the Promotion playoff semi-final, with a 2-1 win, thanks to a late Japa goal. And now they’ve managed to beat Busan 1-0 in the 1st leg of the final event.
In just a couple hours, we will see if Suwon City’s improbable season will end in joy and jubilation with the ultimate prize of all – promotion. Their opponents have dined at the K League Classic table since it was founded in 1983. And their logo has four stars for a reason – they have an illustrious history. On four occasions have they hoisted the K League Classic title, and they have thrice been runners-up. But since the new millennium struck, Busan has been plagued with average performances and midtable seasons. This season, however, they sank to a new low, long struggling to dig themselves out of a hole they fell into early on in the season. Defensive organisation was lacklustre, foreign players were a bust, and the quality in their team was equally lacking.
In 2 hours, we will found out if Busan will be the first ever corporation club to get the axe from the top tier through relegation and if Suwon City can taste the ultimate victory despite not having finished at the top of the K League Challenge table all season. Or perhaps, Busan will complete a rare comeback and remain alongside Pohang and Jeju as the uninterrupted fathers of the K League Classic.