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FA Cup Final Preview: FC Seoul vs. Incheon United FC

(from FC Seoul.com)
The FA Cup final kicks off this Saturday on Halloween.  Unfortunately, because of the bastards running the TV networks, it is at the ungodly time of one-thirty p.m.  Still, it is exciting that they have chosen to play it on a Saturday rather than a Sunday and earlier in the year so that it won't freeze my balls off.

Just like last year, the final features FC Seoul versus another side that is considered to be the underdog.  However, last year's finalists that few fancied hailed from a nice suburb just south of Seoul.  They were a wonderful story that will most likely be turned into an inspirational sports movie at some point (but most likely not).  

This years finalists are, unfortunately, the scum of Korea.  The city, which I heard someone once refer euphemistically to as the Detroit of Korea, is a place where anything good goes to die.  It is why MacArthur was able to launch a surprise attack on the North Korean Army during the Korean War.  They expected no sane nor reasonable human being would willingly go to Incheon under any circumstances.  

Founded by gangsters, pimps, charlatans, and scoundrels, Incheon has produced nothing of value during human kind and should be avoided like a syphilis-ridden hooker.  The airport should be relocated to a favorable place and the city then converted into a penal colony like the movie Escape From New York.  Their transport system is a practical joke designed to induce misery and suicide.  However, China Town is quite nice.  

Even worse than the city is the fan base.  If one was to try and find an apt comparison to an American sports franchise, think supporters of the Oakland Raiders football team, except Incheon fans are clean shaven but with colors a lot less aesthetically pleasing.   Besides that though, the savagery displayed and poor choice of communal residence are just two of the many things they share in common.  

If one was trying to find an apt comparison to European football fans, think Lazio.  Similar to their Neo-Nazi brethren, Incheon fans jackboot thugs who do nothing but thrive on violence and will use any little grievance that even a three year-old would find petty to kickoff.  Every year some poor FC Seoul fan has an unwanted scar to show, the recipient of brutality that was provoked by the home side losing to Seoul yet again.  

Incheon fans are the reason that the K-League now has bag checks for away fans.  They are the reason why every single beer, no matter how long or slow the line moves, must be poured by the Suwon vendors.  Soon, they will be the reason why fans will not be allowed to bring alcohol inside the stadium, have beer limits, and all other manner of harassment

It is for all of these reason that I want to see Seoul win the game on Saturday.  With the exception of Matec Jonjic and Kevin Oris, they are an inferior team to Seoul in every way.  They do not deserve to win and should they steal the fourth ACL sport from a more worthy team, it will confirm everything that is ugly about our existence on this planet.  Hobbes said that "the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" and Incheon United FC is the emboidment of this Hobbesian philosophy.

It is why I feel as though truth, justice, and a win for Seoul is in the cards this year.  Nonetheless, the parallels between Incheon and last year’s FA Cup winner Seongnam are similar, and for that reason I am scared shitless about Saturday's game.  Let's take a look at how Seongnam and Incheon are similar:
  • Seongnam was not expected to win and neither is Incheon
  • Pre-split Seongnam was in 10th place last year, Pre-split Incheon is in 7th
  • Pre-split Seongnam did not play attractive football last year: in 33 games last year they only scored 27 goals and conceded 36.  
  • Pre-split Incheon are slightly better, but they do not play attractive football either: in 33 games they scored only 31 and conceded 29 (good for second in the league).
  • Both are quite execrable- very defensive, lacking in creativity, etc.
Here is Seoul's FA Cup record for this year:


OpponentScore
Gyeongju HNP (National League)3-0 (Home)
Hwaseong (K-3 League)2-1 (Away)
Pohang (K-League Classic)2-1 (Home)
Ulsan (K-League Classic)2-1 (Away)

As I have mentioned before, Seoul's FA Cup run did not start out that great.  They beat Gyeongju HNP three-nil, but did not score the last two goals until the final ten minutes.  They won in the 90th minute against Hwaseong thanks to Yun Ju-tae.  Park Chu-young bagged a brace to knock Pohang out and Seoul defeated Ulsan on the road thanks to goals from Takahagi and Adriano.


Let's look at Seongnam's and Incheon's Fa Cup runs:

Seongnam 2014 FA Cup RunIncheon 2015 FA Cup Run
OpponentScoreOpponentScore
Daegu (K-League Challenge)1-0 (Home)Bucheon (K-League Challenge)2-0 (Home)
Gwangju (K-League Challenge)2-1 ET (Home)Cheonan City (National League)0-1 (Away)
Yeungnam University2-1 (Home)Jeju (K-League Classic)0-2 ET (Away)
Jeonbuk (K-League Classic)0-0 P (Away)Jeonnam (K-League Classic)2-0 ET (Home)
Seoul (K-League Classic)0-0 P (Away)

The parallels between these two sides scare me.  Neither finished in the top half of the table, but instead qualified for the relegation round.  Neither is an offensive juggernaut, preferring to prevent opponents from scoring rather than looking to get a goal.  Neither were fancied to make the final of the FA Cup, but have gathered some momentum as the competition has gone on.  Finally, neither was/is the favorite to lift the trophy before kick-off. 

However, Seongnam were able to ride their luck and overcame all of the aforementioned things to defeat Seoul on penalties.  It did not help that Escudero could not finish even though the goal was wide open.  It did not help Choi Yong-soo decided to play for penalties at the end.  

He thought that he was Louis Van Gaal and decided to use Molina and Yu Sang-hun as his subs.  Molina was to take the penalty and subsequently missed.  Yu was suppose to emulate Tim Krul in the World Cup and psyche out the Seongnam PK takers, but that failed spectacularly as Seongnam scored all four of their kicks.  It is why I fear that Saturday's game will end 0-0 and Incheon will triumph on penalties as Seoul lose another final.  

Even though Seoul has beaten Incheon at home twice, both times were a struggle.  The first game was a 1-0, courtesy of Kim Jin-hwan back pass to the keeper, that was dutifully intercepted by Jong Jo-gook and dispatched with ease.  Seoul won the second game 2-0, but even though they dominated, they were still quite lucky that Incheon missed the penalty that could have knotted it up at one-all.

The general consensus seems to be that the game will be quite dull until the 80th minute and then Seoul will finally go for it.  From what I have been told, it is expected that Incheon will match Seoul and play five in the back as well.  For the neutrals, bring a blanket, a pillow, and alarm clock.  


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