In history’s most desperate waterworks derby, ‘first up’ Warrick-Popo-‘comeback’ Lars ‘spearhead’
Werik Popo makes his debut and Lars returns to spearhead the ‘Suwon Derby’.
Suwon Samsung and Suwon FC will play the 25th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Suwon World Cup Stadium on May 5. This is the most desperate Suwon Derby in history. Suwon is in 11th place with 18 points, while Suwon FC is in 10th place with 20 points. This season, the relegation system in K League 1 is 1+2. A maximum of three teams can be dropped. For both teams in the relegation zone, it’s a no-win situation.
The mood is mixed. Suwon couldn’t have had a better July. They went unbeaten in five games with two wins and three draws. They beat Ulsan Hyundai and then Gangwon FC to complete the double-header. Suwon, who had been improving since Kim Byung-soo took over as head coach, finally seems to be back on track. Transferees Kazuki, Kim Joo-won, and Kim Gum-yeol have been playing exceptionally well. Go Seung-bum and ‘rookie’ Kim Joo-chan are also exploding with their performances.
Suwon FC, on the other hand, is in a terrible mood. They are winless in eight games, including three straight losses. They have drawn two and lost six. Their defense, which was bad enough, has been even worse. Against FC Seoul, they conceded a whopping seven goals. In their last two games, they switched to a back four and only conceded one goal each against Jeonbuk Hyundai and Gwangju FC. They lost two consecutive games without scoring.
Both teams fielded their most elite members. It was the front line that stood out. Suwon started with their summer signing, Werik Popo. Mulicic has struggled of late, but it was a disappointment. Kim Byung-soo took the gamble of playing him in the first game. “I think we’ll see how he performs today. He’s a pure player. He has a clear mind. He’s not selfish. From what I saw, he’s not afraid to defend. There are times when he has speed. He’s a player I’m looking forward to watching.” 꽁머니지급
Suwon FC welcomed back Ras. Ras was not convinced by the FC Seoul transfer rumors. Coach Kim Do-gyun also left him out of the roster, considering the team’s mood. However, he recovered from the break and returned to the starting lineup. “There were issues during the transfer window, and I was having a hard time. But afterward, we talked about it, and I realized that I had to focus on the team. I prepared hard.”
Suwon pulled out a 3-4-3. With Werik Popo as the centerpiece, Jeon Jin-woo and Kim Joo-chan lined up on the left and right. Kim has been on a goal-scoring tear for two games in a row. Lee Ki-je, Seung-beom, Kazuki, and Lee Sang-min are the back four. Park Dae-won, Kim Joo-won, and Ko Myung-seok form the back three. Ahn Chan-ki is in goal in place of the injured Yang Hyung-mo.
Suwon FC will play a 4-1-4-1 formation. Rath starts up top, followed by Kang Min-seong, Lee Seung-woo, Yoon Beom-garam, and An Chi-woo in the second line. Kim Sun-min is the defensive midfielder. The back four is Park Chul-woo, Woo Gomes, Shin Se-wha, and Jung Dong-ho. Park Bae-jong will wear the goalkeeping gloves.
The bench also features key attackers. Suwon will have Mullich, Acosti, Gum Yeol, Kim Kyung-Jung, Yoo Je-Ho, and Han Ho-Kang. Suwon FC will have Bautersson, Kim Hyun-Kwang-Hyuk, Jung Jae-Yong, Park Byung-Hyun, and Oh In-Pyo.
This season, the Suwon derby has been dominated by Suwon FC. They are 2-0 in the series. Suwon FC has been very strong under Kim Do-gyun, with 7 wins, 1 draw, and 2 losses. Will Kim Byung-soo be able to turn the tide in the Suwon Derby, or will Suwon FC once again come out on top in the Suwon Derby? It’s going to be a crucial 90 minutes.