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Koreans Abroad Recap & Weekend Schedule

(image via ruhrnachrichten.de)

By @KoreaFootAbroad

Weekend Recap Oct 16th

A very disappointing weekend with injuries, benching and mediocre performances the dominant theme.  That said, I'm writing this part ahead of Ki's match later in the day so we can hope for something good to salvage the weekend.

Park Joo Ho -- One of PJH's weaker performances, where he started off very tentatively and had one pass that gifted the ball to the opposition that led to a dangerous opportunity for Mainz.  He improved defensively over the match, becoming a lot more effective with his positionig and pressing.  But he was really inconsistent offensively, at times looking lost and going with the safe backpass and yet others where he helped drive the team forward and having a great chance to score in the final minutes.  Not a great claim for more regular playing time with Schmelzer back in training but the season is long and far from a disaster performance.


Son Heung Min -- Still out with injury and the recovery window is really broad, with Pochettino saying he'll be out for 1 to 3 weeks.  Hopefully on the shorter end though resting him through Europa match midweek wouldn't be worst idea especially with the match away.


Hong Jeong Ho -- He returned from KNT duty with a knee sprain (Google translate saying its an MCL).  Not good news for a player whose lack of health has been a major career roadblock.  And with defensive weakness vs last weekend, Augsburg could use him.  Hopefully he only misses a few weeks and can get back to playing soon.


Ji Dong Won -- Weinzierl seemed to want guys who had been training all week with an beatable opponent in Darmstadt and that appears to have left Ji, who played a lot and traveled, out of the squad, especially with Caiuby returning to health.  Disappointing as I think Ji would have helped Augsburg's lack of fluidity all match.


Koo Ja Cheol -- Like Ji, Koo's spot was knocked down a level, though that meant bench for him.  He came on at the half with Augsburg needing to change something and that put Koo pretty far back into a CM role.  He did a great job of finally bringing some linkage between defense and offense, but he wasn't able to help in the final thirds between his deep positioning and continuous Augsburg problems.  A good performance especially considering circumstances if if not great.


Ryu Seung Woo -- Injured during Korean Olympic team and out of squad.


Kim Jin Su -- Again on the bench, but he was put on early after 20 minutes or so when the starting RB Kaderabek was benched after a bad performance and Hoffenheim being down two quick goals.  Toljan moved to RB (where he plays for Germany's U21 side) and Kim Jin Su came on.  But KJS performed pretty badly on the defensive end, repeatedly getting caught out of position and one was punished with a goal when he was covering empty space.  It's unclear what the fullback mix will be like going forward but it was hardly a case of KJS taking advantage of the situation.


Lee Chung Yong -- Despite Pardew claiming LCY was fit and training, he was disappointingly left off the squad.  With Crystal Palace deep on the wings, he may continue to struggle to even make the squad going forward.


Yun Suk Young -- Another disappointing person left off the squad, as Yun was fit enough to play with reserves earlier in the week and even travelling with the squad for the match.  But he wasn't even in the 18 and looks to be on the outside looking in right now, despite QPR still struggling on defense.


Suk Hyun Jun -- He was rested on the bench and came on at 69' minutes in a win as they progress in the cup.


Ki Sung Yueng -- TBD.


Midweek Schedule + Preview Oct 20

I forgot to add Korea's U17 World Cup team to the weekend preview but what a win over Brazil!  That win leaves them in great shape to advance to the knockout stages given smaller format.  In addition to Korea's U17, a bit more than normal midweek action with Taca da Liga cup action for Suk on top of Europa League and Championship:


Tuesday:

Korea U17 vs Guinea -- Match 2 of their group kicks off at 7PM ET on Fox Soccer Plus.

Yun Suk Young -- Yun and QPR host Sheffield Wednesday.  Maybe Yun travelling with squad last weekend is a sign that he's close to returning to first team action especially with two match week.  Or he could be left out of squad again as Ramsey has chosen for quite a while.  I'm leaning to latter but Yun making an appearance may be more likely right now than before. 2:45 PM ET no TV.

Ryu Seung Woo -- Leverkusen host Roma but RSW is probably out with injury and selection as well.  2:45 PM ET on ESPN2/3.


Wednesday:

Suk Hyun Jun -- Vitoria and Suk go to Moreirense for cup action which means it is hard to tell if Suk will start but he most likely will be on the bench at least.  No TV. 11 AM ET.


Thursday:

Koo Ja Cheol / Ji Dong Won / Hong Jeong Ho -- Augsburg go to AZ Alkmaar in another EL match.  With Augsburg struggling badly at the bottom of the table, I'd normally expect Weinzierl to go with a very weak squad, but with Augsburg looking to find rhythm and some injuries, perhaps he'll end up selecting a reasonably strong side.  Ji Dong Won looks more likely of the three to start, and perhaps Koo starts as well to get him back into the flow though he's less likely.  Hong Jeong Ho remains out with injury.  1 PM on Fox Soccer 2 Go.

Son Heung Min -- He'll most likely be out as Tottenham go to Anderlecht.  1P M on Fox Soccer 1.

Park Joo Ho -- Dortmund go to Gabala.  Will Tuchel save Schmelzer for the league (especially given traveling to Azerbaijan) and Park Joo Ho get the start or will he prefer a stronger lineup to continue their forward momentum?  I'm expecting the latter, at least with regards to Park Joo Ho with him being on the bench.  11 AM on Fox Sports 1.


Thoughts on U17 Saturday performance:

A very strong performance from Korean U17 WC team as they went toe to toe with the Brazilians all night and were rewarded when they scored late in the match after great work from Kim Jin Ya.  Coming into the tournament, I'd think most people were just hoping to see Lee Seung Woo in action but now with a big three points in hand, we can start getting excited about progressing further.  Kim Jin Ya being the most consistently dangerous player all match helped open things up for Korea all match, helping pull away defenders away from Lee Seung Woo.  Lee Seung Woo wasn't bad himself, though I didn't rate his performance quite as high as others.  It was good to see some individual quality from him, both dribbling with ease and some really nice passes in traffic.  But I thought his work rate on defense was a bit weak and his decision-making lacking at times as well.

Defensively, the fullbacks looked better going forward than defending but their biggest defensive problems came with being way too cute with passes in their own half.  Many of Brazil's opportunities came from a bad pass in a bad place but fortunately, Korea's effort helped cover for these errors by hustling back and/or quickly winning back the ball.  One bad habit that I hate that is shared with senior squad over the years is the high amount of slide tackling.  Obviously these will happen over the course of proper defending but there are way too many reckless tackles that have a low probability of winning the ball and too often take the defender out of the play completely.  At the end of the day though, Korean defenders looked to want  the ball more than the Brazilians all night and that won the defensive battle for them.

Offensively, it was great to see a ton of fluid passing out of the Koreans and not just on the goal.  Maybe Lee Seung Woo helped share some Barca training because there were beautiful combinations all over the pitch that were really impressive at this level and against that kind of opposition.  There was a refreshing bravery in attack that has been lacking on the senior side for years now, with a willingness to try the risky maneuver rather than safer sideways passing.  They started off brave and kept attacking the Brazilians and it was wonderful to watch.

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