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Busan IPark 0-1 Seoul: A Recap

Jose Mourinho would be proud!  FC Seoul traveled to Busan IPark and came away with  all three points in what could be considered the quintessential  defensive, counter attacking performance.  There were very few shots on goals for Seoul, two or three that I counted, as they remained compact and did their best to keep their shape.  It was the best league performance since their early April win against Jeju United FC.  I expected for there to be a let down after Seoul's epic win against Kashima Antlers, but Seoul put forth another gritty performance and held on to win at the end with a significant amount of luck.  

Choi Soo Yong abandoned his Barcelona inspired 4-3-3 to set out in the same formation that he employed in Japan mid-week, a 5-3-2 formation with Cha Dur Ri and Kim Chi Woo employed as wingbacks.  Park Yong Woo sat deep as the defensive midfielder with Go Yo Han and Koh Myong Jin advanced forward as central midfielders.  In attack was Tuesday's hero, Molina, and Seoul's leading scorer, Kim Hyun Seong.  Yoo Sang Hoon continued to keep Kim Yong Dae out of the side as Seoul's first choice goal keeper.

The first half was a drab affair as neither team could break down the other's defense.  Seoul tried to score by playing route one with balls over the top to the wingbacks.  None of these resulted in an end product of any sort.  Seoul's best chance of the first half came in the 28th minute from a Molina corner kick.  He lofted it into the box towards the near post, but a Busan defender misplayed it and .  headed to the back stick.  Park Yong Woo redirected it towards the center for a bullet header to be cleared off the line, but it was to no avail as a foul of some sort on Seoul had been called.

Of the two teams, Busan had the better chances.  They had more possession (54% to 46%) and they had several chances to score, whereas Seoul had no shots on target whatsoever.  In the 19th minute, several Seoul players did not clear the free kick that came looping into the box, but Han Ji Ho couldn't get his head to ball cleanly and it went wide.  In the 28th minute Choi Kwang Hee had a glorious chance to score as he was put through by a wonderful ball but he shot it straight at Yoo Sang Hoon, who did well to deflect it wide with his legs.  Nonetheless, it was scoreless as the players headed into the locker room, so Choi Soo Yong must have felt like he had been given a good dose of Molly as he grinned from ear to ear.

Nil-nil!  I am loving it!

In the beginning of the second half, Choi Soo Yong decided to change things up by bringing on Jong Jo Gook for Kim Hyun Sung.  This was another quick hook for the striker, having been subbed at half time in the Jeju home game and Suwon road game.  I wonder why Choi is so quick to pull the trigger on him.  If he is not the best to the lead line, then why does he start at all?  In all fairness though, he did not really do much and Seoul were better after he left.

In the third minute, Busan had a great chance to score from a corner kick.  The ball was lofted into the box and was not subsequently cleared.  Park Yong Woo failed to get a foot on it as it went across the box and it fell to Han Ji Ho, but he shot just wide of the right post.  Seoul was lucky and got out of trouble again, which was to be a continuing theme throughout the day.

Finally though, Seoul delivered in the 54th minute and it was a glorious goal.  To describe it in such a manner is quite strong, but because there were no shots and have been so few goals this season, I feel that when Seoul score I must use such superlatives.  It started with Go Yo Han.  He received a pass and put Cha Du Ri through with a wonderful pass to split the defense open (see 3:30 mark).

From there, Cha Du Ri sent in a low, hard cross for Koh Myong Jin to knock into the back of the net.  It is great to See Koh Myong Jin finally score his first goal of the season.  If Seoul are to do anything this year, he will need to have a stellar season and so far he has been anything but.

Afterwards, Seoul players began to wake up.  Before the 50th minute, there were no shots on goal and not much move from the Seoul players going forward.  There was no creativity whatsoever as the ball went forward, then sideways, and then back.  It was sort of like this famous Simpson's clip.

They were making runs behind the defense and Molina was coming back deep to the center line to collect the ball.  In the 60th minute, he split the defense open, but Kim Chi Woo was called off sides.  Still though, this was good, very good indeed.

This is what Seoul have been lacking all year in attack.  It is what made me pine for Kim Do Heon from Seongnam last week.  They need someone in the midfield that can open up the defense, but they also need players to make intelligent runs.  I feel like this is a chicken-egg problem.  How to make a defense splitting pass without a great run, yet, why make a run when there is no pass to be delivered?

Unfortunately, that was really it from Seoul.  Other than a Molina free kick that was headed onto the cross bar by Lee Woong Hee, they decided to bunker in and absorb Busan's pressure, from which they did relatively well.  Osmar, in particular, was great.  He cleared everything that came into the box and looked very assured.  There were some dangerous moments, as crosses were put into the box and fell to Busan players, but they failed to score or put any on target other than a Han Ji Ho overhead kick.  On another day, Seoul would have conceded as, I believe, it is a dangerous tactic to park the bus and just defend.

 Busan had a glorious chance to tie in the 88th minute and every right to feel aggrieved for not coming away with a point in this game.  Busan's left back put a great ball over the top of Seoul's defense for Yoon Dong Min to run onto.  Yoon Dong Min was able to ghost past Lee Woong Hee and easily slip past Kim Nam Chun with a bit of miss direction to put himself into a great shooting position.  However, with the goal keeper beat, his shot cannoned off the post and Seoul cleared it into safety and for a much needed victory.

Somehow, someway, Seoul finally found a way to win a league game.  They did not deserve to take all three points, but nonetheless, I am still satisfied with the outcome.  I predicted that they would come out flat and lose 2-0.  I am glad to be wrong, yet again.

The negatives remain.  Seoul still struggle to create chances, which is worrisome.  They have excessively long periods where do they fuck-all with the ball except pass it sideways or backwards.  No does runs behind the defense.  This was a problem last year and will most likely continue to be a problem this year.

The positives to be gleaned from this game are that Seoul have the capability to keep a clean sheet.  They had moments where they stopped looking so geriatric and attacked.  Maybe if Koh Myong Jin can step it up and Molina drops deep more frequently to get the ball, Seoul will be more electric when attacking.  Hopefully their form continues when they face Jeonnam on Saturday.

GK Yoo Sang Hoon, 6.5- Made a great save against Choi Kwang Hee and a cheeky chest down from Han Ji Ho's overhead kick.  However, woeful punch in the 34th minute could have led to a goal and almost caught off his line in the 54th minute by a cross-cum-shot.  Oh, and he was rooted to the spot in 66th minute on a free kick.  Still, he kicked better this game, but that is probably because the coaching staff instructed the defense to pass back to him less.

RWB Cha Du Ri, 8- Set up the goal for the win.  He ran up and down the sideline all day and put in a good defensive shift.  Deserving of Man of the Match (MOTM).

CB Lee Woong Hee, 6.5- What a difference a week makes!  He was great in Japan, scoring a crucial goal to help them through.  This game, he almost scored as well, hitting the crossbar off of a Molina free kick.  He played well defensively, but got beat again by his man and it almost cost Seoul three points.  I think it looks as though he struggles against players with pace.

CB Kim Nam Choon, 6- I am not sure what to say about him.  He does not make any mistakes that really stand out, but then again, I have not seen him do anything that really stands out either, hence, a rating of six for him.  However, he was almost culpable in the 89th minute as he was easily beaten off the dribble by Yoon Dong Min.  On another day, his head would have been in his hands.

CB Osmar, 8-He was a rock in defense.  He cleared everything that came his way and made no miscues.  Deserving of Man of the Match (MOTM).

LWB Kim Chi Woo, 6- He was decent again.  He did well when he could to get forward, but did not really do anything offensively.  Still, he put in a good shift defensively.

DM Park Yong Woo, 5- He is one of Seoul's new players and I am not sure what to say about him.  He played okay, but he made some mistakes marking on corners and free kicks that could resulted in a goal.  Still, he was solid.

CM Go Yo Han, 8- He put in his typical performance.  He ran all day and he set up the goal with a beautiful through ball for Cha Du Ri to cross for the goal.  Deserving of Man of the Match (MOTM).

CM Koh Myong Jin, 7.5- It was his first league game back since the Suwon debacle and he did well to atone for his role in that game.  He scored the only goal of the match.

FW Molina, 7- He moved all over the pitch searching for the ball and he had a great through ball to Kim Chi Woo who was unlucky to be flagged for offsides.  His free kicks and corners were magnificent today.

FW Kim Hyun Sung, 4.5- He tried hard, but nothing really came off for him.  Removed at half time for Jong Jo Gook.  Maybe striker is the problem for Seoul.

FW Jong Jo Gook, 5.5- This is the first appearance for him since the opening day game against Ulsan.  He was not spectacular, but Seoul played better when he was on the field in the second half.  This could be similar to the victory against Jeju in April.  Were Seoul better that game when Park Chu Young came on or did they decide to attack more?  I think Seoul played better when he entered the game.  They had more flash attacking.  He actually attempted a shot as well.  Still, striker is a department where they need to improve greatly.

CM Lee Sang Hyup, 5- I am not sure what to say about him.  He came on for Park Yong Woo, but he really did little of note.  He made no mistakes but was an active part of the heart-attack brigade that constituted Choi Soo Yong's "park the bus" tactic.

FW Everton, NR- He came on late, ran around, and the whistle blew.  I feel as though I should create a macro for this phrase, then I won't have to type it about him so much.

Man of the Match: I could not choose one, since this was more of a team victory than any one individual standing out.  Therefore, I choose Osmar, Cha Du Ri, and Go Yo Han as the Men of the Match.  

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