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FC Seoul 2-0 Incheon: Recap

(from FCSeoul.com)
On Friday I predicted doom and gloom for Saturday's game and yesterday's weather, coupled with my crippling hangover, gave me no reason to expect anything different.  Looking at the table, neither of these teams looks fearsome in attack and Incheon had the best defense in the league.  Therefore, I feel as though my prediction of 1-1 was a fair and the vitriol spit at Coach Choi Yong-soo was not out of line.  I expected a plodding game with neither team advancing past the midfield much.

Maybe it was all the adderall that was put into the team's protein shakes, but this was liveliest I have seen Seoul in a long time.  They created quite a few chances on goal, sixteen by my count, and should have won by three or four goals.  Park Chu-young was brilliant last night, but I feel as though Molina trumped his performance.  This has been the best game I have see in two years and it reminded me of the good old days of 2010.  Seoul was simply brilliant last night even if they did have a bit of luck go their way.

Seoul came out in a 3-5-2 again, but on the bench were Cha Du-ri, Kim Chi-woo, Go Yo-han, and Yun Il-lok.  In their places were Ko Kwan-min, Sim Sang-min, Molina, and Shim Je-hyeok.  I was a bit surprised by how many players were rotated, but it looks as though Choi got his tactics and personnel decisions correct for a second game in a row.

In the second minute, it should have been 1-0 for Seoul.  Sim Sang-min did brilliantly to steal the ball off an Incheon winger (Kim In-sung I think) and start the break.  Shim Je-hyeok was put through on goal, but he hit the side netting.  It was a tough angle, yet he probably should have scored or at least put his shot on target.

In the 8th minute, Park Chu-young really would have rued this miss if Seoul had not won last night.  Lee Woong-hee's headed clearance traveled really far up the field and Shim Je-hyeok did well to nip in and knock the ball down for Park Chu-young to run onto.  However, he skied his left foot shot well over the bar.

Seoul really dominated in the first twenty minutes with 62% of the possession.  They created eight chances on goal, which is quite unusual for Seoul in the first half of any game.  Normally, they sit back, defend, and play cautiously on the break.  This was the first time in over two years I have seen them come out and have a go from the start of the game.

It was Incheon who sat back and defended.  They had two or three shots in the first half.  I did not expect much from them offensively, but I thought they would be better defensively.  If Seoul's finishing had been better, the game would have been over after the first 45 minutes.

(from FCSeoul.com)
The one thing that Seoul was lacking was someone who could consistently hit long, cross-field balls over the top to wing-backs like Steven Gerrard.  The only player with this ability is Kim Jin-kyu.  Speaking of Kim Jin-kyu, it is great he is back.  Seoul looked better defensively.  I think he has a calming effect on Lee Woong-hee as there were not the usual errors in his game.

The only negative to the first half was Kim Yong-dae's stalker number one fan waving his giant flag in my face.  I missed some of the game because I couldn't see what was happening.  Other than though, I couldn't find anything else to bitch about.

The second half started and after the fireworks malfunction, the game got underway.  Each team made some changes.  Shim Je-hyeok went off for Seoul and on came Yun Ju-tae.  I am not sure why Choi subbed off the player as I thought he had a decent first half.  Maybe Shim was tired or he wanted to give Yun a chance to get some exercise.

Incheon, on the other hand, altered their approach tactically.  They pushed up bit further and actually tried to score a goal.  They looked much better in the beginning of the second half than they did at all in the first half.

However, the best chance to score for either team fell in the fourth minute.  Molina's brilliant through ball split the defense open for Sim Sang-min to run onto, but his shot-cum-cross was just wide of the back stick.

Lee Seok-hyeon was subbed off in the 60th minute for Yojiro Takahagi to make his debut.  Finally, the new signing was going to be displayed.  I can't speak for anyone else, but I was quite excited.

Then, in the 65th minute, the magic happened and Molina scored a wonder goal.  Ko Kwang-min crossed for Molina to run onto the ball and hit with the outside of his boot.  The ball looked to be traveling outside of the goal but then curved back in and beyond Yoo Hyun's outstretched hands.

Seoul was winning 1-0 but they really needed to get a second to put the game away.  That should have happened in the 69th minute, but Kim Nam-chun's header off of a Molina free kick was blocked by Yoo Hyun, who did well to stand up to it.  From there he had the presence of mind to punch the ball away.

In the 77th minute, disaster struck for Seoul as Incheon were given a penalty for who-the-hell-knows-what.  At least, that was the feeling in the stadium at the time, enhanced by Seoul's decision to never show replays that go against the team.  However, watching the replays today, it is obvious that Molina was pulling on the player's jersey.  He was given a yellow, deservedly so, and it was time for Yu Sang-hun to step and be the hero.

Cho Soo-chul stepped up to take his kick and put it to Yu's left.  The keeper guessed correctly and dived to save it.  Simply brilliant- Molina must have been the happiest man on the pitch after that.

Seoul put the game away in the 83rd minute.  Kim Nam-chun sent a long ball up field which Molina did well to touch on for Yun Ju-tae to run onto.  Yun attempted to cross it for Park to redirect it into the back of the net, but it hit the foot of Kim Jin-hwan and wrong-footing Yoo Hyun and trickiling towards the back of his net.  It was going to be a goal no matter what, but Park Chu-young got a stud on it to change the stat from O.G. to a goal for himself.  That makes six in the league now and, I believe, eight for the year.

After that, the game was over and it was three points for Seoul.  They are now in third again since Pohang and Seongnam both drew nil-nil last night.  Jeonnam play later today, so the table might change again.  Seoul does not play for a month at home, so this was a great way to close out the month.

You can watch the video of the game.  It will redirect you to youtube.

Player Ratings (Out of 10)

GK Yu Sang-hun- 9: Saved the penalty, made no major mistakes, very solid.  I worry about his safety with Kim Yong-dae's giant flag waving stalker number one fan on the loose.  Did anyone ever watch the movie The Fan?  How about Happy Gilmore?

CB Lee Woong-Hee- 7.5: Very solid, I have nothing to criticize him about, which I suppose is a rarity.
CB Kim Jin-kyu- 8.5: Kept Kevin contained and did a good job keeping the defense organized.

CB Kim Nam-chun- 7: Unlucky not to score on a header.  He was quite good, but most of Incheon's attacking moves were down his side.  Not sure if that is because they were targeting him or Incheon's best player is their right winger.

RWB Ko Kwang-min- 7.5: Could have scored a wonder goal in the first half if his volley had been better.  Set up the first goal, solid defensively and going forward.  Subbed off for Cha Du-ri.

LWB Sim Sang-min- 8.5: The more I see him play, the more I think Kim Chi-woo's days might be numbered.  He was great against Jeju last month and was even better last night.  Unlucky to not have scored or got an assist.

DM Osmar- 8: Made no mistakes and he did quite well defensively.  I can't think of any errors that he made.  I have not been sold on him as a DM, but he was great last night.

CM Lee Seok-hyeon- 6.5: Solid but not spectacular.  He held onto the ball quite well and he might have scored before being subbed off for Takahagi.

CM Molina- 9.5: Scored a brilliant goal and helped set up the second.  He should have had an assist but Yun Ju-tae missed an open goal.  His passing last night was phenomenal.  I would give him a ten except he committed the penalty.

ST Shim Je-hyeok- 6.5: Awesome the first 20 minutes, sort of anonymous the last 25 minutes of the first half.  Subbed at the break.

ST Park Chu-young- 9: He scored one, but he should have had two.  His movement was great and at one point in the 2nd half, he beat three players on the dribble.  I was quite critical of him when he first came, so I am glad to be proven wrong.


ST Yun Ju-tae- 7: I would give him a much higher mark except he missed the open net off a wonderful Molina pass over the top.  He did set up the second goal with his running though.

CM Takahagi- 6: It was a quiet debut for him.  He scuffed his one chance but did make a wonderful pass off of the outside of his boot.

RWB Cha Du-ri- 6: Came on in the 77th minute (I think) and was solid.  He almost scored from the outside of the box.

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