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FA Cup Preview: FC Seoul vs. Daegu

(2015 FA Cup Champions- from youtube.com)
After Sunday's crippling loss to Pohang, there is little time for FC Seoul to rest.  Daegu FC come to Sangam Stadium to try and end FC Seoul's FA Cup campaign early.  In years past, Seoul's first match is usually a cake walk of some sort with them playing an amateur squad such as the Dangjin Cosmetology Technical Institute (population 151,013).  Instead, they face a decent side that currently sit in second place in the K-League Challenge but should have been promoted last year.

Before beginning my preview, I thought I would say a bit about the city of Daegu, Daegu FC, and my antipathy towards both.  I have been in Korea for a long time,and while  I have not been everywhere in the country, the places I have been to I have mostly enjoyed.  For instance, I often disparage Incheon and refer to it as the Detroit of Korea, but they have lots of places that serve 조개 구 이, which is one of my favorite things to eat and their stadium is brilliant.   People think I am crazy, but I would be happy to live in Ulsan, even if it is the petrochemical capital of South Korea.  I feel as though it is similar to Busan (nice beaches, good seafood), except with significantly less people.  Chuncheon is really beautiful and I enjoyed drinking makgeolli  in a restaurant in the mountains.  The list could go on and on.

(Daegu- it looks nice I guess- from www.pinterest.com)
My point is that I could pretty much find something nice to say about any place in Korea, but the exception is Daegu.  Maybe it was because it was the city I visited right after spending a week in Busan and I was tired, but I do not think so.  I just found it to be hot, unfriendly, and I thought the Mugunghwa (slow train) smelled of adult diapers.  It is a place I would never desire to return to under any circumstances, but that is just me.

Daegu FC are a team that I despise as well.  I have seen a lot of Seoul games, but for some reason only three of these have been against Daegu FC.  The first one was a boring 0-0 draw, the second a 4-0 win at home for Seoul, and the third 2-0 loss at home for Seoul.  The 2-0 loss was one of the worst games I have seen and it felt like Seoul lost to Korea's Stoke City (the one coached by Tony Pulis).

Choi Yong-soo usually feasts on teams that are consistently awful in the K-League.  He averages more than two points a game against Daejeon, Gangwon, Gwangju, Sangju Sangmu, and Jeonnam.  Yet, for some reason, he has struggled against Daeju.  Here are his career statistics versus Daegu in the league.

Wins (%)
Draws (%)
Losses (%)
GF (avg.)
GA (avg.)
Pts. (%)
Avg. Pts.
3 (50%)
1 (17%)
2 (33%)
9 (1.5)
5 (0.83)
10 (56%)

Therefore, even though Seoul are the better team and should win this game, I expect Daegu will put up a good fight and might even win.  I really wish that Seoul had drawn someone easier, such as Goyang Zaicro FC or the lucky bastard's (Jeonbuk) opponent, Anyang.  Unfortunately, the ping-pong balls did not bounce Seoul's way this time.  

(Ha Dae-sung and Lee Keun-ho played for them once.  Are they in there?  From daegufc.com)
Daegu FC: A Very Brief History

Founded in 2003, Daegu FC have always been a poor side that have served as the league's whipping boys.  In the FA Cup, the farthest they have progressed is the quarter finals, which happened in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2009.  In the league, their best finish was seventh, achieved in 2006, so it could come as no surprise that they were relegated at the end of the 2013 season.

After finishing 7th in the K-League Challenge, Daegu put together a strong campaign last year and they really should have won promotion automatically.  However, they won only once in their last five matches, drawing three, and losing once.  On the last day, needing a win Buncheon at home, Daegu could only manage a draw and finished second since they scored less goals than Sangju Sangmu.

Last year's Golden Boot winner, Johnathan, departed back to Brazil to play for Sport Recife.  Taking his place is Paulo Sergio, who is tied for the league lead with four goals.  Will he reach 26 like his predecessor Johnathan?  Who knows, but so far so good.

This year, Daegu got off to a bit of a slow start, drawing three of their first four games, but since then they have won three in a row and are second in the K-League Challenge (tied for first on points though).  They have only scored 11 goals (1.38 per game), but their defense is quite parsimonious, conceding just 3 goals (0.38) per game.

(Runner-up in 2014. From modernseoul.org)
FC Seoul's FA Cup History

Before last year, Seoul had never won the FA Cup under their current guise (they did win in 1998 as the Anyang Cheetahs).  In 2014, Seoul made it to the final, but lost on PKs to a much weaker Seongnam side, so it was quite glorious to watch them lift the trophy.  The championship game was great- Takahagi scored a wonder goal, Adriano scored the winner, and Molina ended the game by scoring directly from a corner.  Here is their history since 2008.

Round of 32
Goyang KB Kookmin Bank
1-1 (lost 6-5 on PKs)
Round of 16
Jeonbuk Motors
3-1 (loss)
Round of 16
Busan I'Park
2-1 (loss)
Quarter Final
Pohang Steelers
4-2 (loss a.e.t.)
Round of 16
Suwon Bluewings
2-0 (loss)
Quarter Final
Busan I'Park
2-1 (loss)
Seongnam FC
0-0 (lost 4-2 on PKs)
Incheon United


I am not sure who Choi Yong-soo will choose to start for this game.  I believe that he has to rest Takahagi and Ju Se-jong, both of whom looked tired all of Sunday's match.  I think he will sit Dejan and Adriano since they play Seongnam this Saturday and have to travel to Japan for an ACL game against Urawa Reds afterwards.

I think Kim Won-sik will start, maybe Osmar since he did not play on Sunday, and one of the new defenders possibly (Jung In-hwan or Sim Woo-yeon).  In the midfield, who the hell knows, but it will probably be Park Yong-woo, Lee Seok-hyun and ? (maybe Cho Chan-ho).  Up front, I expect either Yun Il-lok, Park Chu-young, or Yun Ju-tae to be the starting forwards.  Since Yun Ju-tae played Sunday, he will probably sit.  It would be nice if Choi changed his formation and ? ended up being Yun Ju-tae along with Yun Il-lok and Park Chu-young, but that will not happen.

Because Daegu defend stoutly, and Seoul seem to be in a bit of a slump, I expect this game to be a dull contest of attrition.  I think both teams will score or a goal, but it would not surprise me if it ended 0-0.  From there, I think PKs will beckon and of course, that is a lottery.  In the end though, I expect the home crowd of 5,000 people to will Seoul on to a win.

Final Score: FC Seoul 1-1 Daegu (Seoul win via PKs)

I changed my mind.  I think Seoul win 2-1, no PKs.

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