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The Luck of FC Seoul Continues: A Recap of Sunday's Game

(from FC Seoul's Facebook Page)
Lucky, lucky, lucky Seoul- that is all I can say about Sunday's match.  I was pretty euphoric at the time and I thought it was a great game.  Now, though, I am not so sure.  I think it was the sun and the beer that was the cause for my euphoria.

The game was good.  I can't complain about that and Seoul did get a result.  However, looking back on things, I would say that Seoul was lucky as hell to get three points.  If it wasn't for piss poor defending from Jeonnam on Adriano's winner, Jeonnam would have come away with a point.

Seoul started out in their customary 3-5-2 formation, with the only change from Monday's line up being Kim Hyun-sung starting up front in place of Park Chu-young, whose season is most likely finished due to injury.  Jeonnam, on the other hand, chose to rest four of their five best players- Ristic, Orsic, Ahn Yong-woo, and Choi Hyo-jin.    What was Noh Sang-rae thinking?

Magic Mullet can't believe it either (from taegukwarriors.com)
Apparently, it didn't matter who took the field for Jeonnam.  There was one player who stood out on the field and his name was Lee Jong-ho.  He tore Seoul apart and with the exception of Osmar, who put in a few crunching tackles, looked on a higher level than everybody else.  It was inevitable that Jeonnam was going to score, it was just a matter of when.

Everything Seoul did in the first 45 minutes was utterly predictable.  From the sideways to backwards passes, there was little movement or invention on the part of Seoul's forwards or midfielders.  I am perplexed as to why Choi Yong-soo continues to persist with Kim Hyun-sung and will not play Yun Ju-tae for longer than 45 minutes.  Going forward, everyone on Seoul looked as though they had spent a late night out on the sauce in Hongdae.

Defensively, Seoul was dismal as well.  Kim Dong-woo, who had a game to forget, thought he was Messi in the first five minutes and tried to dribble out of trouble.  He was stripped and lucky that the referee let him off with a whistle.  That was just the first of many mistakes to follow.

Yun Sang-hun had a game that made some pine for Kim Yong-dae.  On the one hand, I do appreciate his aggressiveness coming off the line.  On the other  though, his distribution, especially his kicking, was woeful.  Whether it was booting the ball out of bounds or kicking it to an area with only Jeonnam players, Yun could do little right.  This is an area that he needs to really work on in the off-season if he wants to continue to be the first choice keeper.

(from KLeague.com)
Jeonnam scored in the 34th minute on the counter, which was run to perfection.  After stopping another half-hearted attempt by Seoul on goal, the defense played the ball out quickly to Leandro Lima, who put an amazing ball across the field to Lee Seul-chan (I think).  Lee's shot was stopped by Yun, but it was deflected into Lee Jong-ho's path and he had the easiest of finishes from there.   It was just a magnificent counterattacking goal.

With a dire, abject, listless, absolutely devoid-of-passion first half performance, Seoul deserved to be down by more than a goal and against a better team (re: Jeonbuk, Suwon, Pohang, Seongnam, even Jeju) they would have been.  This was the second match that they had started poorly, so there was hope that they could rebound after half-time.  I expected Choi to give the team the hairdryer treatment and for Seoul to come out fired up.

Seoul did play better in the second half, as evidenced by the scoreline.  However, I think is more a reflection on how poor Jeonnam was defensively in the second half than anything that Seoul did offensively.  The marking on two out of the three goals could definitely be classified as dreadful.

Before tying up the game though, Seoul was quite lucky that Takahagi's backpass to Lee Jong-ho did not result in another goal in the first minute of the second half.  If there is one player that can use the international break it is Takahagi.  I wouldn't say he has been terrible, but he hasn't been very good either.  I feel as though he is pressing to do well and is struggling to adapt to the pace and play of the K-League.  When he was hooked for Lee Seok-hyun in the 72nd minute, Takahagi could not feel as though it was unjust.

(from youtube.com)
Seoul's moment finally did arrive and it was in the 10th minute off of a corner.  Molina's kick went in and Osmar headed it into the back of the net.  It was a great goal by Osmar, who was the man of the match in my opinion, but Jeonnam's keeper Kim Min-sik should have done better.  The kick was quite close to his line and he really should have come off and either caught or punched it away.

(from FC Seoul's Facebook Page)
Seoul's second goal arrived in the 68th minute from super sub Yun Ju-tae.  Ko Kwang-min crossed it into the box and Yun was the first to get a head onto the ball and redirect it into the net.  I really don't know why Choi won't start Yun because he is one of Seoul's most exciting players.  When he plays, he usually scores and therefore, deserves an extended run in the side.

Jeonnam did really well to equalize though.  Kim Yong-wook's through ball to Lee Jong-ho was sublime, as was the finish in the 86th minute.  Seoul's defense went to shit as they were pulled all over the field, but since they were, ostensibly, playing five CBs this should never have happened.

(from FC Seoul's Facebook Page)
Just when things looked bleak though, Adriano crept up and had the easiest of finishes off of Molina's cross in the 88th minute.  Whoever was marking him, either Hong Jin-ki or Lee Ji-min, switched off and he had acres of space to finish.  What surprised me was how subdued Adriano was after scoring.  Was it fatigue, relief, or frustration with the team?

(from KLeague.com)
Anyways, it really is the mark of a spoiled fan to complain about the manner of the victory, but other than the match at Suwon when they won 3-0, I haven't Seoul put together a great performance this year.  This is a game that Seoul should have spanked their opponent in to send a message to the other teams in the championship round.  However, if today's performance was meant to be a message, I can't foresee Jeonbuk, Suwon, Pohang, Seongnam, or even Jeju quaking in their boots.

Nonetheless, let's finish with the positives.  First, they won the game.  That is 15 wins before the split, which is two better than they were at this time last year.  Second, they are still within striking distance of the top three.  If they get some results in the coming weeks, then it will not matter when they get knocked out of the FA Cup by Kim Shin-wook.  Finally, Seoul won the game at the death.  They did not play well, lots of things went wrong, but they never give up.  Therefore, on that alone, Seoul should be commended.


  1. Agree with you from the Jeonnam end of things. I understand the thought of Noh Sang-rae wanting to rest some starters to save up for FA Cup... but that's still a week away and this match was sandwiched between two weekends off. Now the top five players on the team will come into the FA Cup rusty. I'm well aware the game didn't mean anything for Jeonnam since Championship Round was gone, but throwing out a nearly complete backup brigade just doesn't make sense.

    You're also spot on about the piss poor defending. It's been the Dragons undoing all season (especially on set pieces) and it haunted them yet again in this one. I've said it before, but I'll happily say it again, Noh Sang-rae needs to get the ax. Poor lineup choices and poor set piece defending both lie directly on his shoulders.

    1. Choi Yong-soo owes Noh Sang-rae a steak dinner as a thank you.


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