Another round of K League matches are this weekend. More chances to watch some football.
Jae’s Game of the Week: FC Seoul vs Seongnam Ilhwa
A couple of traditional powers going at it here. While Seoul has bumbled and stumbled along this season, Seongnam has quietly put together an impressive season. Earlier I said that Seongnam looked like a relegation team, but how they have turned it around. Manager Ahn Ik-Soo was questioned before the season began about the large number of players he had cut from the roster and his intense training session. Both seem to have have helped the team as they are right in the thick of things. Seongnam doesn’t have a lot of star power on their team, but they work hard and are efficient. Striker Kim Dong-Seob has five goals to lead the team, and former Asian player of the year Server Djeparov pulls the strings in midfield.
FC Seoul on the other hand can’t seem to get any consistency. After winning the title last season, Seoul hasn’t looked capable of defending it. One wonders if there is a bit of complacency in the team. Dejan Damjanovic is still knocking in the goals, but he’s missed the last couple matches. The midfield is still quality, but the defense is a bit shaky. Adi, usually a rampaging fullback has gone into center defense, while Cha Du-Ri hasn’t quite been up to standard. It seems like the defense is a little too attack-minded.
Seongnam won the first encounter 2-1 with Kim Dong-Seob scoring a brace either side of a Molina goal. Based on form Seongnam would seem to be the likely favorite to win this match.
Daegu vs Gangwon
Daegu will look to build on their 3-2 win over Gyeongnam midweek, and they find almost the perfect team to do it. Gangwon drew with Busan, but they’ve been poor on the road, so a trip to sweltering Daegu may be too much for them. Daegu hasn’t been great at home, but they’ve showed they can score there, so if they can keep out the Gangwon attack (which has only scored 5 away from Gangneung), then there’s a chance for Daegu to get their second win in a row. If Daegu wins they would jump Gangwon into 12th place.
Chunnam Dragons vs Incheon United
Incheon was off midweek, while Chunnam fell to Ulsan. Incheon has actually been a little better away from home (14 points vs 12), so they’ll feel good about their chances. Chunnam has been difficult to beat at home, only conceding 7, but they don’t score much either (just 8). This one should be Incheon’s to win, but a draw wouldn’t be too surprising either.
Daejeon Citizens vs Busan IPark
Daejeon is quickly in danger of being relegated-relegated before the table even splits. A measly 8 points from 16 matches thus far. A win against Busan wouldn’t get them out of danger, but it could offer a glimmer of hope to a team in desperate need of some. Busan on the other hand continues to chug along, generally meeting expectations of a midtable finish. Solid at home, average away. Busan should have enough to win, but it probably will be a little closer than IPark fans would hope for.
Gyeongnam vs Jeju United
Gyeongnam will be on the look out for a bounce back game after their slightly humiliating loss to Daegu midweek. Unfortunately for them, they’ll run into a decent Jeju team that will be fresh since they did not play midweek. Jeju has slipped up a bit as of late due to a suddenly leaky defense. Jeju will be counting on joint top goal scorer Pedro Junior to continue to do the business, while hoping they can rectify the defensive situation. Gyeongnam, will be hopeful for a result, and will look at their solid home record for comfort. Gyeongnam has allowed a league best 5 goals at home, and has only lost once at the Changwon Soccer Center. Jeju hasn’t been great on trips to the mainland with an average record of 2-4-2. A draw would seem to be the most likely outcome here.
Pohang Steelers vs Jeonbuk Motors
After eeking out a win against Seoul, Pohang find themselves against another good team that is struggling a bit. Jeonbuk, after their strange loss (although deserved) to Seongnam midweek will be hopeful of a win to help close the gap on the leaders. Lee Dong-Gook moved to the joint top of the scorers table, although accidently, and Kevin Oris has been in decent form after struggling early. Pohang continues to chug along, picking up points and keeping the challengers away. A Pohang win is expected, but Jeonbuk has the firepower to pull a win.
Suwon Samsung vs Ulsan Hyundai
Suwon bid farewell to midfielder Stevica Ristic last match, but did pick up a much needed 3 points to help relieve the pressure. Ulsan defeated Chunnam to keep the pressure on Pohang and will be looking to repeat the feat against Suwon. This game looks a bit hard to call as Suwon has been a bit inconsistent at home, while Ulsan is average on the road. Ulsan could pull a surprise, but Suwon could equally win.