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FC Seoul 1: 1 Seongnam- A Very Late Recap

It is a late recap, but better than never I suppose.  Seongnam, traditionally whipping boys for Seoul at home, came to World Cup Stadium.  I still remember the glory of Children’s Day in 2010 when Seoul won 4-0 and Dejan got a hat trick.  Unfortunately, those days are long gone as Seoul is now both anemic offensively and defensively. 

Things started so well for Seoul though.  After a two week absence, Cha Du Ri returned to the lineup and Seoul set out in a 4-3-3.  In the 4th minute Seoul won a corner.  Molina took it and Kim Hyung Seong scored quite easily evading his Seongnam marker.  It was Molina’s 60th assist in the K-League and he now joined the rare club of players with at least 60 goals and 60 assists.  Looking at Wikipedia, there seem to be only three other players in this club (Shin Tae Yong, Eninho, and Lee Dong Gook).  It was a magnificent start and I was hoping that Seoul would push on from there to close out the game and win in style. 

However, after going down a goal in the 4th minute, Seongnam outplayed Seoul and were unlucky to not go home with three points.  In the 10th minute, Seongnam created a wonderful chance from the left side that the defense had difficulty dealing with.  If it was not for Kim Chi Woo clearing, the game would have been tied one all. 

Unfortunately, this did not wake Seoul up.  They continued to sit back and defend, inviting Seongnam to attack as they hoped to hit them on the counter.  The few opportunities Seoul had to counter attack came to nothing as they lacked an incisive final ball to pick open the defense.  Mostly, when Seoul had the ball, it was a lot square balls, sideways passing, or back passes to the goal keeper.  The longer the game went on, the more inevitable it seemed that Seongnam would score. 

Seoul’s goalkeeper, Yoon Sang Hoon, had a nightmare of a game.  His kicking was absolute shit and he looked tentative throughout the game.  In the 29th minute, Seongnam hit a free kick straight at him and he tried to catch it but ended up bobbling it.  He was lucky to not have given up a goal. 

In the 30th minute, Lucas played a brilliant through ball into Seongnam’s striker, Hwang Hee Jo, and he was off to the races.  Seoul defender Lee Woong Hee tried to square up to him but was easily rounded.  Unfortunately, Hwang couldn’t decide whether to pass or shoot, so he did neither and Lee Woong Hee was able recover and knock the ball away for Cha Du Ri to clear it out of the box. 

Seongnam’s goal finally came in the 32nd minute and it was a real piece of shit from a defensive point of view.  Seongnam decided to go route one as their defender Lim Chae Min played a wonderful long ball over the top of Seoul’s defense.  Cha Du Ri made the classic defensive mistake of letting the ball hit the floor instead of attacking it and as he did, it bounced over him and into the path of Nam Jun Jae, who had the easiest of finishes. 

Seoul continued to play poorly, especially the back line of Lee Woong Hee and Kim Nam Chun.  Neither passed well, but they were not helped by the poor play of the goalkeeper Yoon Sang Hoon.  Based on this display, it is safe to say that they miss Kim Jin Gyu and probably should not have let Kim Ju Yong depart to China. 

Seoul first half was like a 90 year old man’s penis, limp and flaccid and absolutely without any vigor.  They did not produce their first shot on goal until the 43rd minute, a cracking shot by Kim Chi Woo that wasn’t really close but at least served to remind people that there were two teams playing.  An incident at the end of the first half best summed up Seoul until that point.  Yun Il Lok evaded two attackers to get into the box and fell over.  He was immediately booked for diving and I cannot say that I disagree with the referee’s choice.  Hell, that has been a metaphor for Yun Il Lok’s season so far as he has struggled with his form and has yet to score a goal in the league. 

The second half kicked off and Seoul came out and looked much more energized.  They actually played balls forward and created some half chances on goal.  The best was Molina’s great free kick delivery into the box in the 50th minute.  Unfortunately, it was headed directly to the goalie by Go Yo Han. 

However, just like the first half, the second belonged to Seongnam as well.  In the 46th minute, Lee Woong Hee almost gifted a second goal for Seongnam.  He tried to play a short pass to Osmar but instead gave it directly to a Seongnam player, who laid it off for Hwang Hee Jo to run on to.  If Hwang had been faster or his shot had not been straight to Yoon Hang Soon, Seongnam would be leading 2-1. 

In the 69th minute, Seongnam played a corner short and Seongnam’s player (Kim Do Heon I think) rifled a left foot shot that cannoned off the bar.  In the 72nd minute Nam Jun Jae played a nice one-two ball at the top of the box with Hwang Hee Jo, but his shot was weak.  Seongnam continued to pour forward looking for a winner and Seoul did their best to just hang on.  They almost scored in the 85th minute, but Yoon Sang Hoon did well to get a hand on the shot and Seongnam had another ball ricochet off the post. 

As the game ended in the 93rd minute, you could see the disappointment etched across the faces of the Seongnam players as they knew they should have won.  Likewise, Choi Soo Yong did not look happy on the sideline and Molina cut a forlorn figure all day, growing more visibly frustrated as the game progressed.  I think it is safe to say that no one left this game happy.  

Based on this display, Seoul will have its work cut out for them today in Japan as they must get a result from this game to progress to the knock out stages of the Champions League.  I go back and forth about whether Choi Soo Yong is the right manager for this team.  I cannot decide if it is his tactics or the players’ abilities. 

Two years ago, when Seoul had Dejan, Ha Dae Sung, and Adi they were world class and always scored goals.  Last year, all three left and Seoul changed its tactics to become more defensive.  It worked as they still finished top three and their defense was quite stingy.  However, this year their attack is poor and so is their defense. 

No one makes runs and the passing is unimaginative.  It is either sideways or backwards and almost never forwards.  When it does go forwards, there is never a final ball to pick out a player.  Seoul never looks like they could score a goal and are often flaccid, limp, and impotent when they attack. 

Seongnam, on the other hand, played Saturday’s game like I wish Seoul would.  They attacked throughout the game.  Their forwards made great runs behind the line and moved well around Seoul’s box at the end of the game.  Kim Do Heon, “Asia’s Paul Scholes”, made some great passes in the second half that just opened up Seoul.  He is the type of player that Seoul sorely miss- someone with vision. 

I would love to sit down with Choi Soo Yong and discuss what his ethos is.  Does he tell the Seoul players to be careful?  Does he tell them to not take too many risks?  How do the Seoul players feel about playing under him right now?

Based on the defensive displays this season, I can understand, but it seems as though no one is enjoying themselves on the pitch or in the stands.  A change in tactics or coach is inevitable or the patience of the fans will run out.  I feel as though it is fair to say that Seoul should be doing much better than they currently are. 

There was fuck-all to sing about in this game

Player Ratings
GK Yoon Sang Hoon, 5.5- he was extremely shaky at times in the goal.  His distribution was terrible, particularly his kicking.  One point in the first half, Seoul overloaded to the left side and he kicked it in the middle.  He made a good save at the end (I think). 

RB Cha Du Ri, 5- glad he is back, but it is evident he hasn’t played in two weeks.  He was culpable for the goal. 

CB Lee Woong Hee, 3.5- had a day to forget.  He was terrible when the ball came to him he often times looked nervous, was rounded with ease by Seongnam striker Hwang Hee Jo, and misplayed many passes.  Almost gave up a goal at the beginning of the 2nd half as well. 

CB Kim Nam Chun, 4.5- was not as bad as his partner, but rather inconspicuous.  A lot of sideways passing that put Lee Woong Hee in trouble.  Not sure if it is he or Lee Woong Hee that is the problem in the defense.

LB Kim Chi Woo, 6- was the best of a terrible back four.  He had the only shot for Seoul in the first half.  He didn’t get forward much in the second half but that is because Seongnam had Seoul pinned back.  Still, he battled well and the left side of the field usually felt safe. 

CM Osmar, 5.5- another game where I can’t say that Osmar did anything of note.  He almost had an own goal, but besides that he was pretty solid in defense.  I don’t think he is meant to be a DM though. 

CM Lee Sang Hyup, 5.5- first league start for him and it could be a long time before Choi decides to do that again.  He didn’t do much of note and his passing backwards kept putting the defense, notably Lee Woong Hee, under pressure. 

CM Go Yo Han, 6- worked hard and ran a lot.  If he had placed his header a little better, he could have been the MOM. 

FW Kim Hyun Seong, 7- scored a goal and did some good things in the first half, but I wish he would have more shots. 

FW Molina, 6.5- got his 60th K-League assist today.  His FK to Go Yo Han was brilliant.  He tried to do too much at the end though it looks as if he is becoming frustrated. 

FW Yun Il Lok, 4- at the rate things are going for him, it will rain in the Atcama Desert before he scores a goal.  He was booked for diving and he should have been subbed much earlier. 


Yoon Tae Joo (for Lee Sang Hyup), NR- did not do much of note. 

Park Hee Seong (for Kim Hyun Seong), NR- created a good chance for Yun Il Lok, but Lok dithered and failed to shoot or pass.  He is the man that fans love to hate, but I feel as though he should play more. 

Park Young Woo (for Yun Il Look), NR- see Yoon Tae Joo.  

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