When FC Seoul went on a recruiting spree last winter, some wondered if the team was signing too many players. However, the so-called newcomers have come into their own in the right places and are helping the club chase the lead.
Brazilian striker Willian, who was loaned to Seoul from Daejeon Hana for a season, scored the game-winning goal in the 27th minute of the 15th round home match of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 against Gangwon at Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 28th to lead the team to a 1-0 victory. After receiving the ball on the left side of the halfway line, Willian sprinted at high speed for about 40 meters and rattled the net with a right-footed shot aimed at the bottom left corner of the goal from the front of the arc.
It was Willian’s second goal in as many games and his third in as many home games, having scored the equalizer in Jeju last time out. He scored three goals in May alone, solidifying his status as an ’emerging ace’. The timing of Willian’s emergence coincides with Na Sang-ho’s slump. After scoring seven goals in his opening 10 games, Na Sang-ho has gone silent in his last five games, including one goal in three consecutive games 스포츠토토.
Usually an absolute force to be reckoned with, the ace’s absence has a significant impact on the team’s results. However, Seoul has scored five goals and picked up five points (W1 D2 L1) in the four games since May, thanks to the likes of Willian.
Seoul head coach Ahn Ik-soo said after the win over Gangwon, his team’s first in three games, that Willian’s presence has helped strengthen internal competition. Earlier in the season, veteran Shin Sang-hyeop, who played for Busan, Suwon and Pohang, scored when needed and helped Seoul get off to a flying start, winning five of their first eight games this season after just one win in the first eight games last season.
As Kim Jin-ya’s “form” dipped, another new signing, Park Soo-il, was deployed on the right flank. Park scored a wonder goal against Ulsan. National team striker Hwang Eui-jo harassed the opposition defense with his tremendous pressure up front, allowing the second-stringers to score goals, while veteran defender Kwon Wan-kyu kept the defense alive until starting center back Lee Han-beom returned from injury.
With a good mix of existing resources and newcomers, Seoul has been able to steadily rack up points without a loss and is in second place after 15 rounds. Leader Ulsan drew with Daejeon, reducing their goal difference by two points from 13 to 11.
Seoul’s run is unlikely to be interrupted as they have a ‘second Willian, third Willian’ waiting in the wings. Wingers Kim Kyung-min and Hossam Aiesh, both newcomers to the team this year, are fighting for a spot in the starting lineup. Even with the departures of key players, such as the return of Hwang Eui-jo on loan this summer, there are plenty of resources to draw on. Fullback Lee Si-young and goalkeeper Choi Cheol-won are also waiting for their chance.