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A Very Late Recap: Suwon Bluewings 1-1 FC Seoul

(Suwon's 12th defender Kim Sang-woo- from GHOUL via youtube.com)
By now, any one who is interested knows the score and the general narrative of last Saturday's Super Match.  Rather than give a play-by-play of what happened, I will focus on some things that stuck out in my mind.  I will start with the positives first, and then finish with the negatives.  If you want a different point of view, you can read this.  Below are the statistics from match.

(From kleague.com)
1.  Both Teams Defended Well for the Most Part

Coming into the match, neither team had lost since the first game of the week.  Seoul, leading the league in scoring and defense, were winners of six games straight.  Suwon maybe have only won once, but they had moments where their midfield played some great football.  I expected this to be an open contest with the defenses being shredded and goals being scored.

Instead, this was a match where the defenses excelled and the offenses struggled.  Officially, Seoul only had 52% of the possession, but it felt like so much more, especially in the first half.  Maybe it was because, as the fallback plan seems to be for any team in the K-League that takes a lead, Suwon decided to cede the ball to Seoul and hit them on the break.  I would say that outside of this chance, Suwon created nothing else of note in the first half and that the Seoul defense was tight, snuffed out any thoughts of a Suwon attack, and this helped Seoul dominate the first 45 minutes.

Likewise, Seoul had almost twice as many shots as Suwon, but I cannot think of any that troubled their keeper No Dong-geon.  In the first half, the Suwon defenders always had numbers back to block or alter the Seoul player's shots.  When Seoul did have an opening, their players usually hit their shots too hard.  In other words, I would say that the Suwon defenders were flawless defensively, but they did have a bit of help (more on that below).

The second half was a bit more open and end-to-end, but that is probably because Seoul equalized so Suwon had to push men up the field if they wanted to win the game.  The Seoul defense did a good job keeping Yeom Ki-hun contained, but Kwon Chang-hoon was always dangerous.  He had a big part in Suwon's first goal and all of their best moments came through him.  Adriano was also a constant menace for Suwon's back four (how is that not a red?) and was rightly named Man of the Match by the K-League.

In sum, Seoul dominated, created the better opportunities, but could not find a break through.  Before I begin to complain, I will give credit where credit is due and say that Suwon defended Seoul as well as anyone this season.  They were compact, had bodies in front of the ball, and tactically fouled when necessary.  Seoul could not find a lot of space and I think this GIF sums up Seoul's day.

2.  Kim Dong-woo and Adriano

Depending on which side you are sitting on, both goals could be considered great or byproducts of defensive mistakes.  Suwon's goal came early in the game, in the 6th minute, and it was a classic counterattacking goal.  I cannot find it in the highlights, but I thought Dejan was fouled in the before Suwon's counter.  Yet, referee Kim Sang-woo, in what constituted his pattern throughout the game, failed to call it.  Here are two GIFS of the goal.

As a fan of Seoul, I going to point out what I believe is a defensive mistake and a shortcoming of Kim Dong-woo.  I have complained about his desire to demonstrate his dribbling skills and how it has gotten Seoul in trouble.  He has been very lucky in the past, but this time he got caught out, and it cost the team.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Kim Dong-woo (triangle) is able to get a foot on the ball and stop the initial attack.  Santos (circle) is pressing hard to recover the ball and it is at this point, I feel that Kim Dong-woo should have just put a boot to the ball.  Maybe though, Santos was too fast for Kim Dong-woo to do that.  Kwon Chang-hoon (rectangle) is lurking in the background.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Instead, of clearing the ball Kim Dong-woo (triangle) tries get past Santos (circle) to recycle possession for Seoul.  Santos does not steal the ball, but he does get a foot to it, which allows Kwon Chang-hoon (rectangle) to get the ball and send it out towards Yeom Ki-hun to cross.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Kwon Chang-hoon (rectangle) is about to cross the ball to Yeom (not in the picture) while Santos keeps running forward.

After Yeom crosses, a Suwon player (Kwon I think) got a foot to the ball.  Yu Sang-hun blocks the shot, but it rebounds off of Osmar and Santos gets an easy tap in.  Was Santos offside?  Probably not, but it felt that way at the time.

Conversely, I would say that Adriano's goal was one of brilliance rather than a defensive break down, but Suwon fans might disagree with me.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Takahagi sends a ball over the top of the defense to run on to and from here, it seems as though Suwon has it adequately covered.  Adriano (1) is going after it, but Yang Sang-min (2) should be able to get to it and clear it no problem.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
The ball bounces, but still no problem.  Keeper No Dong-geon (3) is coming out to get it as well.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Yang (2) is not able to clear as Adriano (1) must have done enough to put him off, but No (3) seems like he is still in a good position to block a shot.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Here is a far shot of how close Adriano (1), Yang (2), and No (3) are to each other.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Here is a close up of how close the three players are together.  It really was a brilliant chip shot by Adriano because the distance between him and the keeper is not very much.  Quick thinking and mad skills- that is what the goal was about.  With that goal, Adriano's scoring streak against Suwon continues.  He has scored in all four games he has played against Suwon and he has a total of six goals.  That is pretty damn good.

(From GHOUL via youtube.com)
3.  Kim Sang-woo

From the get go, it felt as though referee Kim Sang-woo was going to call absolutely as little as possible for Seoul.  I remarked earlier about how I thought Dejan was fouled in the build-up to Suwon's goal, but I was sitting on the opposite end of the stadium, so my view was not the best.  However, I am pretty sure this should have been a penalty in the first half.

(From GHOUL via youtube.com)
The defender clearly impedes Go Yo-han's path to the ball, yet there is no call.  How?  Why?  What the hell?

(From GHOUL via youtube.com)
My sentiments exactly.  This should have been an automatic red card.  Adriano is pulled down from behind and has a clear path to the goal for a scoring opportunity.  Again, what the hell is the referee doing?

(From GHOUL via youtube.com)
There are plenty of more examples of how one-sided the referee was in calling the game in this brilliant compilation.  I am not going to say anything else about the referee.  For whatever reason- a bribe, a Samsung stockholder, a lover of Maeil Dairies, the kidnapping of his beloved dog Mung Mung-i- the referee was absolutely inconsistent.  Even though Suwon players committed more fouls, less were called on them and Seoul came away with more cards.

However, outside of Seoul fans, no one else in the K-League will shed a tear for FC Seoul's plight.   To them, it is as though we got our just desserts.  Many were outraged a few weeks ago when Seoul were awarded a penalty against Jeonnam for Kim Chi-woo's dive, but in all fairness, Choi Hyo-jin should have never stuck his foot in.  Still, people felt like Seoul were given an unfair advantage and were beneficiary of luck.  I would argue that these things have a way of working themselves out.

That time, Seoul did win the game against Jeonnam on a PK.  This time, Seoul drew against a very strong and organized defensive Suwon effort.  I do not want to take anything away from Suwon's defenders, but questions should be asked.

Would the defense have been as successful if Go Yo-han's being barged over was called as a PK?  Would the defense have been as successful if defender Kwak Hee-ju been the straight red card he deserved?  These are variables that will unfortunately never be answered.  I hope that Kim Sang-woo is enjoying his pile of money, stock, carton of milk, or company of the family dog this week.

Final Score: 1-1

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