Korea Baseball Organization
· KT Wiz at LG Twins
· 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Jamsil Baseball Stadium, Seoul
Can the LG Twins keep its hope alive for this year’s postseason by taking down the bottom-ranked KT Wiz in the two-game series over the weekend?
The Twins are stuck around the middle of the league standings at the moment, which means they still have some work to do for the remainder of the season until the end of September. Essentially, they need to make their way up to finish at fifth by the time the postseason comes around in October so that they can play a little more ball after the regular season.
With about a month to go in the regular season, it seems like the Doosan Bears and the NC Dinos have safely secured their spots in the playoffs. The Bears, who are also the defending champions, are the league’s inevitable No. 1, cruising through the regular season unchallenged and ready to protect their title.
But the Twins, who share the same home stadium as the Bears in Jamsil, south-east of Seoul, have struggled mightily during the mid-season. In early June the Twins went back and forth between fourth and fifth place in the rankings. But the team began to sink towards the end of June, going all the way down to seventh place by June 30. By mid-July, the Twins were ranked as low as eighth, which raised doubts among Twins fans about the team’s prospect of playing in the coming fall. By Aug., the Twins were holding steady at sixth place, raising hopes that the team still has a shot at the postseason. They absolutely need wins over the Wiz this weekend, however, to keep those hopes alive.
· Incheon United FC at Suwon FC
· 7 p.m. Saturday, Suwon Sports Complex, Suwon, Gyeonggi
Incheon United FC and Suwon FC have no place to go but up, as they are ranked 11th and 12th in the K-League Classic standings as of Thursday. However, whether they will actually be able to climb the ladder in the league standings is questionable.
Incheon is undoubtedly in a downward trajectory at the moment as they have not claimed a single win since July 20, when they edged Ulsan Hyundai FC in the 21st round of the league. Since then, they raked in two draws while suffering four losses, with the last one coming on Aug. 21 when Jeju United FC came and defeated Incheon 1-0 on its home turf. Suwon, although ranked at rock bottom, at least has had a win recently when they piled in five goals and defeated Jeju 5-3 in front of its home crowd on August 17. Last week, Suwon held Gwangju FC, who has the league’s leading scorer, Jung Jo-gook, 0-0 to come out of the week with a draw.
Still, who will emerge victorious from the game this weekend is difficult to say, since both are in desperate need of a victory this week if they want to avoid relegation by the end of the season. After this week, there will be five games left in the regular season, which means they are running out of time to up their standings in the league. The two teams that are ranked at the bottom by the end of the season will play in a playoff against the two teams ranked at the top in the K-League Challenge, K-League’s second-tier division, to decide who will be in the top league next season.
· Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at FC Seoul
· 7 p.m. Sunday, Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul
It’s time for yet another classic K-League match between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and FC Seoul, the two teams vying for the league title at this year’s K-League Classic.
While Jeonbuk will try to extend its record-breaking undefeated streak to 28 games, FC Seoul will attempt to claim the club’s first win over its archrival this season. The last time the two met was on July 20, the first game in which FC Seoul took on Jeonbuk since Hwang Sun-hong took the helm after his predecessor, Choi Yong-soo, who tendered his resignation to oversee China’s Jiangsu Suning. Then, Seoul’s players came out of their home stadium with their heads hung low as they sat and watched Jeonbuk’s Brazilian striker, Lopes Pereira Ricardo, pile in two goals towards the end of the match to take a 3-2 win.
As of Thursday, Jeonbuk has 16 wins and 11 draws while Seoul has 15 wins, four draws and eight losses. In terms of goals scored and yielded, Jeonbuk has netted 50 goals while conceding 28. Seoul, on the other hand, has 52 goals but has given out 36 goals, raising some questions about the imbalance between the team’s offense and defense. In fact, Seoul’s offensive prowess seemingly dominates the league at the moment. Seoul’s Dejan Damjanovic is ranked the third top-scorer with 13 goals, while his teammate, Carlos Adriano, is closely behind him at fourth with 11 goals. Another Seoul striker, Park Chu-young, is ranked sixth with nine goals. If Seoul can take full advantage of such a lethal offensive lineup while its defenders keep Jeonbuk’s Lee Dong-gook and Ricardo in check, Seoul should be able to come out of the game with a victory and conclude Jeonbuk’s undefeated run in the league for good. But that’s easier said than done.