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AFC Preview (Gamaba Osaka vs. FC Seoul) and Pining for Seoul E-Land

I had plans to travel to Daejon to watch FC Seoul play but the match was moved to June 13th so that Seoul could focus on Gamba Osaka.  It was probably for the best since they will have to travel to Osaka this week and score least 3 goals.  Anyone familiar with the Seoul offense will understand what a monumental task that is since they have been anything but prolific this season.

They did score three against Kashima Antlers, but that is because Kashima pushed forward searching for the win, leaving themselves exposed in the back.  Likewise, Seoul only had 4 shots to Kashima's twelve.  If Seoul had won or gotten a 0-0 result last week, I would feel better about their chances and foresee and repeat of the Kashima Antlers game.
However, they were eviscerated and let's be frank, by a much better team than Kashima Antlers.  With Suwon's loss to Kashiwa Reysol, questions must be asked about the quality of the K-League in comparison to that of the J-League.  The Asian Champion's League, now the AFC Champion's League, was something that Korean teams won with a fair amount of regularity.  Since 1985, Korean teams have won 10 times, which is quite a feat if you think about.  It could have been more but Jeonbuk lost on penalties in 2011 and Seoul lost on away goals in 2013.  

Now, I would argue, things have changed.  Other countries are taking it more serious now.  Players deemed not good enough for the J-League are going to China instead, which might be why the K-League is not as dominant against its competitors as in the years before.  

Anyways, my point is that I cannot foresee Seoul beating Gamba Osaka on Wednesday.  The quality of the teams seems to be much greater than Seoul's.  I think this team is much better than many of the opponents Seoul have played against in the past as well.  Therefore, I think it will be a disappointing trip for Choi and his players on Wednesday.  I really hope they pull off the impossible, but I cannot see it happening.  If they do, I will stop complaining about Choi and the team's anemic output, which is my segue into writing about Seoul E-Land.

I watched the Seoul E-Land match last Saturday against Goyang Hi FC.  There were only 1600 fans, which is so small since the stadium holds around 30 thousand.  The game was enjoyable though as both teams went up and down the field attacking.  However, it is obvious that Seoul E-Land have more quality on their side and they ran out winners with a scoreline of 4-2.  

My point is not to rave about Seoul E-Land so much, but to focus on how they played and their midfield.  They were much more direct than Seoul so it was more exciting to watch.  They went for it more frequently, which led to Goyang getting some chances that they should have finished.  

One could argue that playing in this manner is somewhat suicidal but Seoul have been terrible in the back this year, so why they hell not play more direct rather than the sideways-backwards-slow-build shit that has been going on for the last two years.  It was nice to see a team go forward with intent to score rather than fingers crossed and not to fuck-up.  This is just my opinion though and by no means am I an expert.  

Also, Seoul E-Land scored two goals off of shots outside the box from their midfielder.  Why don't the Seoul midfielders shoot from distance?  They were great goals to watch, especially the last three.

I understand the concept of tiki-taka but Seoul no longer have the players to pull it off, so why not try something different.  Now, Seoul wear their opponents down through boredom rather than through possession and slick passing.  Seoul's possession game is more masturbatory than anything else at this point.  Again, I am no expert and I am sure that Seoul have a large staff analyzing and trying to figure out what the problem is.  

As far as the large staff goes, who does the scouting?  I am sure that FC Seoul's midfielders are much better than Seoul E-Land's midfielders, but on Saturday it did not look so.  Cho Won Hee was great.  He bossed the midfield and scored a great goal.  Why didn't FC Seoul look to sign him?  Is it because he is 32?  If it is, so what.  He might give Seoul an edge that they are missing.  

Of course it is just one game, but it felt like watching everything that Seoul was once but no longer is.  Seoul E-Land was exciting, the game was played at a quick pace, and the goals were great.  Contrast that to FC Seoul's games this year, and one can see why I pine.  

It makes me wish for Seoul E-Land's manager Martin Rennie.  If Choi Soo Yong continues to falter, I think FC Seoul should make him an offer.   He probably would not get better results, but the games would be a hell of a lot more exciting.

AFC Prediction: Seoul 2-4 Gamba Osaka.  Seoul come out attacking since they need to win.  However, they leave lots of gaps in the back that Gamba Osaka tear apart.  


  1. Apparently Choi Yong-soo has told his players NOT to shoot from distance because its too wasteful. So don't expect to see anything like that anytime soon. And hands off Rennie!

  2. Would've been fantastic for the Seouls to battle it out in the FA Cup somehow. Tremendous opportunity wasted by the K-League script writers!

  3. I'd fancy our chances if we were playing them in the next round. We gave Ulsan a good run for their money.

  4. Pretty damning of FC Seoul's possession game. Unique write-up.


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