2023 Preview: Can Chungnam Asan Go That One Step Further?

It has been an eventful time for Chungnam Asan in the K League over the past few seasons. The 2023 season will be the fourth year that this team will be involved in the K League 2 under that Chungnam Asan name. Before that, they had name changes, location changes, and also transformed from a police team into a civilian side. 

Last year saw Asan just miss out on a playoff spot, finishing in 6th place behind Gyeongnam FC. It appears that Asan are improving each year and they are once again getting ready for the up coming season. Could this be the year that they finally make the jump? Michael Redmond looks at Chungnam Asan here. 

Constantly Improving

Asan Mugunghwa was the name of this side prior to 2019. Back then, Mugunghwa had the best pick of young, South Korean players who have still not completed their military or police service. However, it was confirmed that from the 2020 season onward, they would be a civilian club. This also meant that the side could also bring in foreign players for the first time in their history. 

The 2020 season finished how most people would think after such a huge change in the team. They finished in last place that year, being awarded 10th place. The next year brought a little more fortune as they finished in 8th place. The side was showing slight improvement from the season prior. However, there was still more to come. 

Chungnam Asan managed a 6th place finish in the 2023 K League 2 season.
The 2022 K League 2 season was the year which finally got this side off the ground. They played 40 games last year, winning 13, drawing 13, and losing 14. This gave them a points tally of 52. They managed a 6th-place finish. However, it was not good enough to overtake Gyeongnam FC who were in that well sort of after-playoff spot. Gyeongnam finished the season on 56 points, four points ahead of Asan. With that in mind, Asan appear to be improving year after year. If that is the case, then Asan fans may be a little excited to see a playoff game or two in the Yi Sun-shin stadium come fall. 

Changes in Chungnam  

It has been a busy transfer window for Chungnam Asan this winter. The biggest move saw Yu Kang-hyun make the move to Daejeon Hana Citizen. The 26-year-old was the side's top goal scorer with 19 goals for the side last year. To put that in perspective, 2nd place was Kim Kang-guk with five. 

Asan also loses their 23-year-old defender Lee Sang-min to Seongnam FC and Lee Jae-sung to Suwon FC. It appears that after a promising season for the side in 2022, other teams have been knocking on the door looking for some talents. 
Yu Kang-hyun scored 19 goals for Chungnam Asan in 2022. He makes the move to Daejeon Hana Citizen for the 2023 K League season. 
Asan have been busy themselves though, the most noticeable move into the side is K League veteran,  Róbson Duarte. The Brazilian has played for Gwangju FC, Seoul E-Land, Ansan Greeners, and now Chungnam Asan. Chungnam have also brought in a number of young players into the side, as well as free transfers. It is apparent that Asan may not have the finances of other K League clubs, but they appear to be a young side looking to prove a point.  

The Best of The Rest?

This year is going to be a tough one for Chungnam Asan. The side has had a clear out of very talented players to bigger teams and it appears that they have not quite brought in that many replacements. Also, the K League 2 expands from 11 teams now to 13. That will be 13 teams all looking to make that push to the K League 1. 

It is also important to note that this year has a very good Gimcheon Sangmu and a K League 1 relegated Seongnam FC in the mix. It has A Jeonnam Dragons and Busan IPark side that will look to not repeat last year's embarrassments. Gyeongnam FC will feel like they have spent too long in the second division and you have Seoul E-Land who seem to be throwing everything at the chance to play top-flight football. 

With this being said, Asan have quite a fight on their hands if they are to even think about bettering last season's position. There will be a lot of teams who will overlook Asan as they make their progression up the K League 2 table. 


Final Thoughts

Chugnam Asan have been improving themselves every year. The 2022 season was their best yet as a civilian club and more is expected in the 2023 season. However, it appears that they have made some major changes in the camp and they have not exactly replaced those who gave them such a great season. It will also be a year where everyone is going to be investing heavily in their sides to try and reach promotion. It appears that Asan has just not put in that finance to strengthen the team.

With that being said, Asan play team football. They will be a young side of talented players who will look to prove themselves as they are being loaned out from their parent club. They will also look to hopefully use Asan as a stepping stone to get back into the K League 1. If the side are able to stay focused and just play a simple game like they did last year. Then who knows what could happen to Chungnam Asan in 2023. 

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