Saturday, June 15th#DCFCvANS: Daejeon Citizen (8th) vs Ansan Greeners (6th) 19:00
Squaring off for just the tenth time in history, Daejeon Citizen welcome Ansan Greeners to Purple Arena this Saturday in desperate need of a win. Daejeon have gone seven matches winless and have been outscored 14-2 over the stretch recording just three goals of their own. Still without defender Lee Jisol and midfielder Kim Seyun as they youngsters compete for the U20 World Cup title, it's apparent Daejeon will need to score in numbers in order to claim points this weekend as one of the league's worst defenses faces off against the occasionally deadly Green Wolves. A big part of ending their scoring woes could start this weekend with striker Aurelian Chițu seemingly set for a return as he has joined the club in full training.
Having stopped their own four match winless streak last time out with a 3-1 win over Jeonnam Dragons, Ansan enter Saturday night just two points behind FC Anyang in fifth place, and four points away from Asan Mugunghwa in fourth place. It's been an up and down season for Ansan largely buoyed by resounding victories over Jeonnam, but they have consistently shown an ability to be in and around the goal and should striker Gustavo Vintecinco continue to find his rhythm up front, they could be a team to watch this summer. Especially when considering the boost they'll get with U20 captain Hwang Taehyeon returning soon. Another win this weekend could be what sets them up for the summer months.
#SUWvASA: Suwon FC (3rd) vs Asan Mugunghwa (4th) 19:00
In the K League 2 marquee match of the weekend, Suwon FC host a revived Asan Mugunghwa with both teams riding high. After struggling to score most of last season, Suwon are in the middle of a five game unbeaten streak that's seen them outscoring opponents 12-6. The newly found offense is largely down to Nigerian striker Chisom Egbuchunam, who has eight goals in 14 appearances this season and doesn't show signs of stopping. Having already beaten Asan 2-1 this season, Suwon will undoubtedly be going for full points as a win could bring them within striking distance of Gwangju and Busan for top spot should other results go their way.
Perhaps more than any other team in K2, Asan will make scoring extremely difficult for the newly high flying Suwon attack this weekend. Boasting their own six match unbeaten streak, Asan have conceded just once during the six and have managed to pick up three wins in spite of scoring a meager five goals. Manager Park Donghyuk has done a masterful job of transitioning the free flowing 2018 version of Asan into a lock down defensive side that continues to grind out results. With his rock solid defense going against one of K2's highest scoring attacks of late, something has to give Saturday night.
Read Lee Youngsub's full preview: here
Sunday, June 16th#GWAvBUC: Gwangju FC (1st) vs Bucheon 1995 (7th) 19:00
Still undefeated and top of the table, Gwangju FC squares off against a struggling Bucheon 1995 side searching for an identity. As has been the case all year, K2 Golden Boot leader Felipe will be the danger man for Gwangju, but his brilliance up top has masked what may be the true key to Gwangju's success: an air tight defense. Not only does the team boast eight clean sheets (including a 1-0 win over Bucheon in early May), but they have also held opposition to a lone goal all but once this season. The two FC Anyang put past Gwangju earlier this year was the highest tally for any side in the league and is a mark that does not bode well for a Bucheon team that have scored just five times in their previous six.
The good news coming into the match for Bucheon is that they are one of the few teams to have truly gone toe-to-toe with Gwangju this year. While they did lose to them in early May, it took a stoppage time goal from Yeo Reum to seal victory in spite of Bucheon playing for an hour with just ten men. Should 1995 match that effort this weekend, they may be able to sneak away from the second division's best side with a point. Kim Ryundo remains the man to watch for Bucheon as his five goals this season already matches his career best and scoring against the nearly impenetrable Gwangju defense would help secure this as his best season yet.
Read Peter Hampshire's full preview: here
Monday, June 17th#SEFCvJND: Seoul E-Land (10th) vs Jeonnam Dragons (9th) 19:00
The bottom teams in K League 2 get Monday night football started in one of Seoul E-Land's few remaining "home" matches in Cheonan. In what has been a truly poor season thus far, the Leopards are starting to slip farther away from the rest of the pack at the bottom of the table, four points adrift of Jeonnam in 9th. With the promotion playoffs unlikely this season, salvaging an on-gain, off-again fanbase should be paramount for Seoul and picking up home wins against the team directly above them in the table is a great way to get started. With just two multi-goal scorers on the roster, it's clear the Brazilian duo of Wesley Alex and Douglas Coutinho will have to do the heavy lifting up top as they go against the league's second worst defense. And score they must if E-Land is to have a chance in this one. Having conceded two or more goals in over half of their games this season, even the low scoring Dragons should have a decent chance to get on the board.
Much like their hosts, Jeonnam have but two out and out goal scoring threats: midfielder Kim Youngwook and converted defender (now winger) Choi Jaehyeon. As the only two Dragons with multiple goals, the burden to scrape together Jeonnam's fourth win of the season lies largely on their shoulders. To do so, manager Fabiano Soares would be wise to concede possession to Seoul as Jeonnam perform much better on the counter. In two of their three wins this season, Jeonnam had less than 40% possession and in spite of that held a clean sheet in both matches to come away 1-0 winners each time. In fact, some of their most lopsided losses have come when they saw the majority of the ball. It may seem counterintuitive against the bottom team in the league, but Jeonnam would do well to sit back and absorb pressure in this one in hopes of getting a game winner on the counter.
Read Michael Redmond's full preview: here
#ANYvBUS: FC Anyang (5th) vs Busan IPark (2nd) 19:30
Two of K2's more intriguing sides close out the round at Anyang Stadium Monday night when Busan IPark make the long trek North to face FC Anyang. Having beaten everyone above them in the table aside from Gwangju, Anyang have proven more than capable of holding their own against the best in the division. However, three of their five league losses have come at the hands of teams at or near the bottom of the table in Bucheon, Jeonnam, and Seoul E-Land. Manager Kim Hyungyeol has yet to find consistency for the club, but what he has found is a young core led by 21-year-old striker Cho Kyusung that has the ability not only to enliven a long dormant fanbase, but also make a very real playoff push. With seven matches remaining in their astounding twelve game home stand, Anyang are primed to make the most of it. Pulling off another signature win against Busan could be what sparks them on to even higher highs this season.
The 4-1 loss Busan suffered at the hands of Anyang on opening day still looms large in the minds of the IPark faithful and an emphatic victory in the Violet's home stadium to return the favor would go a long way to erasing the memory. Unquestionably the best attacking team in the league, Busan enter Monday night with a breathtaking 33 goals in 14 games and eight multi-goal scorers on the squad. Led up front by the resurgent Lee Jeonghyeop who returns to the club after a recent call up to Paulo Bento's KNT squad, Busan have been merciless in the league this season. Seemingly scoring for fun, Busan have outscored their opponents 14-5 in their current six match unbeaten streak and will look to pour more on against Anyang as they attempt once again to unseat Gwangju at the top of the table.
Read Paul Bettridge's full preview: here
K League United Editor in Chief