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FC Seoul vs. Seongnam FC: Preview and Prediction

(From FCSeoul.com)
After last weekends wonderful result, Seoul are back in action on Wednesday against Seongnam.  Of course, as I have written 2,596 times prior, this match is one of significance since they are tied on points, with only goal differential separating them.  If Seoul wins, they at least be in fourth place and still in the race for the much valued third spot, so it is important for the team to not slip up.  In other words, at this juncture, nothing but three points will suffice.

However, before discussing Wednesday's match, I feel as though I should say a bit about this weekend's result.  I did not expect for Seoul to win after their capitulation in Jeonbuk two weeks ago.  Hell, before that they had lost to Jeju and were lucky to get a point of Pohang during the week day game, so thinking that Seoul would achieve a point, let alone three, reeked of an optimism that bordered on naivety at best.

I think this is why I was so happy after the result.  I didn't expect Seoul to play well, let alone win, but they did both, dominating the game from the start.  Also, I have not seen Seoul beat a Suwon team by more than a goal in a long time.

It could be argued that last year's victories in Suwon were lucky as Seoul scored at the end of both games.  In my opinion, I do not think that can be the case for last Saturday's win.  Sure, there was an element of luck- Suwon could have tied the game in the first half on own goal and they hit the post twice in the second half, but Seoul deserved their victory.

The team the came out on the front foot, played together, and intelligently throughout the contest.  The only blemish would have been when Yu Sang-hun felt the need to go to ground against Mitsanski in order to get him booked.  There is no place for that and I feel as though a retroactive yellow against the keeper would be deserved if it would help him cut that shit out.

Besides that, there were nothing but positives.  Let's start with the man of the match Adriano.  He scored twice, from a PK and a magnificent header off of a corner.  Unfortunately, he picked up a knock on his ankle, so I am not sure if he will play in tonight's game.  I could see him starting on the bench and coming on later if Seoul are chasing the points.

(From FC Seoul's Facebook Page)
Next, I want to focus on the wing-backs.  Both Cha Du-ri and Ko Kwang-min had exceptional games.  Cha Du-ri's goal was phenomenal.  I remember watching him rampage down the line to intercept a pass and I thought, "No, don't do it," because I thought he would not get to the ball.  Alas, I was wrong and not only did he nick it, but he put it into the back of the net and ran the length of the field celebrating.  It really was a great goal.

Also, Ko Kwang-min continues to play well.  I felt he was one of the only players in Jeonbuk two weeks ago to not have a shit-show of a game.  It was Ko who won the penalty, bursting past Yeon Je-min and being knocked to the ground for a penalty.  Defensively, he was great as well and really, Yun Il-lok should have scored at the end of the first half to give Ko an assist.  Unfortunately, just like his season, Yun completely cocked it up and missed.  I heard one Seoul fan remark on how Ko should have been man of the match and I can see his point.

Finally, Seoul's back line of Kim Nam-chun, Park Yong-woo, and Kim Dong-woo were solid as well.  I remember seeing Kim Jin-kyu's name and experience being omitted from the starters and I thought that Choi Yong-soo had lost the plot, but his decision to start these three novices together paid off.  They marshaled Suwon's attacks with ease and outside of shots in the second half in the 3rd and 27th minute and hitting the post twice on a set piece in the 39th minute, Suwon did not really threaten.

The only other negative to the day was Suwon's policies concerning away fans.  Forcing the traveling fans to pour their beers into paper cups, providing only two vendors for 2000 fans, and then having such slow service because they had to pour every single beer is disgraceful.  Food lines in Moscow in the 1990s moved at a faster pace.  Seoul fans paid money for their tickets, just as Suwon fans did, but because we are repping a different set of colors gives them the justification to provide shitty service.  Me thinks not!

I understand that there was a problem with the Incheon fans throwing cans on the field in weeks prior, but that still does not justify shoddy treatment.  Incheon fans are bunch of Neo-Nazi jackboot thugs who, even though they sport the colors of Inter Milan, espouse the ethos of Lazio fascism.  The league should crack down on them rather than implementing stringent, TSA policies against away supporters, especially ones who travel well like Seoul do.  Fuck it though- we won and that is really all that matters.

I think it is safe to say that this most likely will be the year's highlight.  To win in the manner that we did and after being thumped 5-1 in April, I would say this is what redemption feels like.  It felt great to be out in the sun at the end of the game as the Seoul players came over to do the customary bow and watch them link arms and do the goal shuffle dance along with the fans.

(From seongnamfc.com Fan's Media The Mag)
Anyways, there is the game on Wednesday night to look at.  Seongnam are the team that will not fuck off and die.  I didn't rate them at the beginning of the year, when they met up in May, but I sure as hell do now.

Masters of the frustrating draw, their record stands at 12 wins, 12 ties, and 7 losses.  On average, they score a goal a game and concede slightly less than a goal.  They feel like a team that should be fighting to avoid relegation, yet they making a strong push for the final ACL spot.  How the hell is that possible?

I guess it would start with defense.  They are second in the league defensively, conceding only 29 goals (Incheon lead with 26) in 31 games.  Likewise, they do well to keep their shape and play on the counterattack utilizing the speed of Hwang Eui-Jo, Nam Jun-Jae, and Kim Do-heon's sublime distribution.  All three of these players have been significant for Seongnam this year.

Hwang Eui-Jo is sitting at third in the league with 12 goals.  I don't really know much about him, but as I have mentioned prior, Seongman fans should prepare themselves for his inevitable departure to Europe, China, or the Middle East in the next year or two.  Even though he might not have the stats that Hwang Eui-Jo does, Nam Jae-jun still provides a threat with his speed.  Kim Do-heon might be 33 years old, but he continues to perform at a high level.  With seven goals and six assists, he is in my opinion, the player that makes them tick.  If Seoul can shut him down (maybe via man-marking) I think they can win this game.

Nonetheless, even though Seoul was lucky to get a point back in May and the game in July was a pretty uneventful draw, I think Seoul will find a way to win.  As I said earlier, nothing less than three points will suffice and I hope that the momentum and, for a lack of a better term, the positivity from Saturday's win will carry over.

Prediction: Seoul 2 - 1 Seongnam

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