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Recap: Gwangju FC vs. FC Seoul

(from SPOTV via youtube)
Seoul had a bit of a road trip down south this last week.  On Sunday, they went to Gwangyang and took on Jeonnam.  Yesterday, they went to Gwangju and faced the local team, Gwangju FC.  Seoul won 2-1, but they had to ride their luck as Gwangju out played them at times, especially in the second half.

Seoul have played quite a bit of soccer these last two weeks, so it is probably why they have labored to wins over their last two opponents that many think they should have eviscerated.  Pretty much the same core of players have garnered the majority of the minutes and I think the wear and tear of so many games over such a short period of time is taking its toll. Jeonbuk columnist Matthew Binns has noted Choi Kang-hee's insistence on roster roulette and the consequences it has had on the squad with respect to consistency and player development and which, now is effecting the results as well.

Therefore, in that respect, Choi Yong-soo has to be applauded for running out the same lineup since it is getting result and not tinkering for the sake of tinkering.  After five games, Seoul are in first place and they lead the league in goals scored and averaging more than two a game.  At this time over the last three seasons, Seoul would be languishing at the foot of the table trying to get themselves out of the hole they had dug, so it is great that they have started so well.  As I have noted in the past, it is usually essential to do well enough in your first ten games and so far Seoul have met that criteria.

However, I wonder if some of their players are begin to feel the effects of playing so frequently.  Here are Choi Yong-soo's core players and their minutes before and after the game:

Player (Pos)
Before Jeonnam
After Gwangju
Osmar (CB)
630/630 (100%)
810/810 (100%)
Ko Kwang-min (WB)
630/630 (100%)
720/810 (89%)
Kim Won-sik (CB)
630/630 (100%)
741/810 (91%)
Ju Se-jong (DM)
603/630 (96%)
783/810 (97%)
Takahagi (CM)
593/630 (94%)
718/810 (89%)
Go Yo-han (WB)
593/630 (94%)
653/810 (81%)
Dejan (FW)
588/630 (93%)
706/810 (87%)
Shin Jin-ho (CM)
585/630 (93%)
686/810 (85%)
Adriano (FW)
540/630 (86%)
676/810 (83%)
Kim Dong-woo (CB)
539/630 (86%)
629/810 (78%)
Park Yong-woo
203/630 (32%)
462/810 (57%)
Park Chu-young (FW)
160/630 (25%)
259/810 (32%)
Lee Seok-hyun (CM)
42/630 (7%)
165/810 (20%)
Yun Ju-tae (FW)
5/630 (1%)
12/810 (1%)

For the starting eleven, with the exception Osmar and Ju Se-jong, their minutes have dropped after these last two fixtures, which is good.  However, my main issue with Choi's rotation patterns is his substitutions.  In the Gwangju game, Choi removed Adriano after the first half (for issues of hustle?  keep him fresh for Saturday?  Not sure) and put in Dejan.  Rather than insert Dejan, who has played quite a bit already, why not give Yun Ju-tae a run out?  He scored 13 goals last season, so he has quality.  Likewise, Lee Seok-hyun has been the midfielder removed and Shin Jin-ho and Takahagi have come on for him.  Why can't he play a full 90?  Why not give Cho Chan-ho some minutes?

It is really sour milk to bitch right now, so I will stop.  Seoul are in first, for how long who knows, so I am going to enjoy the results while I can.  Instead, I will recap yesterday's game against Gwangju.  Here was my predicted Lineup against Jeonnam:

(from footballuser.com)
Choi Yong-soo instead opted to start Dejan, Takahagi, Go Yo-han, Ju Se-jong, and Kim Won-sik sat, so I got that wrong.  Here was the lineup against Gwangju yesterday.

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Other than Kim Dong-woo and Yoo Hyun, this is almost the exact lineup I predicted against Jeonnam.  This is the lineup I thought he should have played in that game rather than this one.  However, since Seoul won both games, my opinion counts for little at this point.

Seoul started out the game a bit slowly this time.  Gwangju had a free kick in a dangerous position in the second minute, but eventually Seoul did get a hold of the game and at one point in the first half had 60% of the possession.  In the 18th minute, Seoul finally scored and it was off an egregious defensive error.

I noted that Gwangju's keeper Choi Bong-jin could be prone to bouts of madness, this for instance, and he did not let me down yesterday.  Thing started out well as he collected the long ball, but then he rolled the pass out for either his defender or full back and disaster struck.  Here is the GIF.

I am not sure what happened.  Here is an image below.

(from SPOTV via youtube)
Choi Bong-jin (3) rolls the ball in between Jung Dong-yoon (1) and Kim Yong-bin (2).  Maybe he meant to roll it to the full back Jung Dong-yoon and did not put enough muscle into his roll.  Jung Dong-yoon or Kim Yong probably should have went to the ball rather than waiting for it to come to them.  Nonetheless, Ko Kwang-min (circle) was intelligent enough to recognize the situation, steal the ball, and center it for Park Chu-young (rectangle) to score.  Here is another image below:

(from SPOTV via youtube)
About 20 minutes later, Seoul were up by two as Park Chu-young was fouled and Adriano nailed the PK.  Here is a GIF of the action, which shows the horror show tackle and Adriano's great pass to put Park Chu-young through and a GIF of the PK.

Seoul were ascendant and it looked as though they were about to kill the game off.  Unfortunately, because first keeper Yu Sang-hun and then defense and even Adriano failed to clear the ball properly or just kick the damn thing out, Gwangju were able to play some nice one-touch football and get a goal back.  Here is a GIF.   In my opinion, this goal was similar to Jeonnam's on Sunday.

Prior to Jeonnam scoring, Seoul controlled the game, had the majority of possession, and generally handled Jeonnam's attacks fairly well.  Unfortunately, the defense switched off for a moment and they were ruthlessly punished.  Here is the first image below:

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Kim Won-sik (2) steps up to try and get the ball from Stevo (A), but fails and Stevo is able to play the ball to Jugovic (B).  Problems occur in the next image below.  

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Osmar (3) leaves the goal scorer Bae Chun-suk (D) and goes to Jugovic (B).  After failing to get the ball off of Stevo (A), Kim Won-sik (2) is in no-man's land.  From there, Jugovic sends a ball over the top for Bae to run onto and score from.  

I feel like Gwangju's goal was similar- players missing tackles and being out of position.  Here is the first image.

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Shin Jin-ho (1) and Adriano (2) converge on Yeo Reum (A), but he is able to pull of a slick cut-back and keep the ball.  As he moves forward, Ko Kwang-min (3) and Ju Se-jong (4) converge toward the ball.  Here is the next image.

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Yeo Reum (A) is able to draw Ko Kwang-min (3) and Ju Se-jong (4) in and is able pass the ball to Jung Jo-gook (B) before either Seoul player can intercept it.  Shin Jin-ho (1) tries to hustle back, but the play has already bypassed while Adriano (2) just says "F-k it!  I am out."   Kim Won-sik (5), just like last week with Stevo, tries to intercept the ball from Jung Jo-gook but fails.  Here is what happens after.

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Jung Jo-gook (B) quickly plays a one-touch pass to former Seoul player Kim Min-hyeok (C), who quickly shuttles the ball back into the left channel for the goal scorer Song Seung-min (D) to run onto.  Notice how Shin Jin-ho (1), Ko Kwang-min (2), and Ju Se-jong (4) are no longer in the play and where Park Yong-woo (6) is standing.  Here is the image of Kim Min-hyeok's pass to Song Seung-min below.

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Kim Won-sik (5) sticks his leg out, but completely misses the ball.  Park Yong-woo (6) tries to anticipate which was Song Seung-min (D) will go, but absolutely guesses wrong and Song scores a great goal.  Below is an image of Park's error. 

(from SPOTV via youtube.com)
Park Yong-woo (6), thinks Song Seung-min (D) will go to the outside, but Song cuts in and shoots to score the goal.  It was a pretty nice goal, but Seoul had a similar break down as in the Jeonnam game and that could be troubling.  It is good that Seoul is aggressive when going after the ball, but it seems like when they fail to get it, they are susceptible to the counter.  

Five minutes into the second half, Gwangju almost scored again, but Jung Jo-gook ballooned his shot over the bar.  Here is a GIF of Park Yong-woo being completely bamboozled by Song Seung-min AGAIN.  I do not mean to pick on park and Seoul did win, but this could be a problem late on in the season against better opposition.  

Seoul had some nice moments, such as here and here and here.  Seoul got lucky here and here.  Seoul played well in the first half, but not so much in the second.  Statistically, Gwangju were the better team and Seoul are lucky to come away with all three points.    If not for some terrible defensive lapses, Gwangju might have come away with a point.  If Seoul want to win on Saturday, they going to have to do much better against Suwon FC.  Sitting in 6th place, Suwon FC have yet to lose this week and are more than holding their own in the K-League Classic.  For anyone interested in going, it will be at Seoul World Cup Stadium at 14:00 on Saturday.  

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