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Recap: FC Seoul 1-1 Jeonnam Dragons

(image via facebook.com/dragonsfc)
The Dragons pulled off a rare feat and came away from Seoul World Cup Stadium with a point. On an odd day when Seoul rested their offensive power, the Dragons held on for a 1-1 draw with both goals coming from Seoul's Osmar. The draw didn't improve Jeonnam's place in the standings, but there were a number of takeaways in the usual Good, Bad, and Ugly variety.

The Good
Cho Suk-jae Started: After racking up all of 110 minutes through four matches, Cho was finally rewarded with a start. He did well to get into position and get his shots off, but was understandably rusty with his finishing. He had a tremendous chance when he was nearly 1-on-1 with the keeper in the first, but couldn't convert. However, his pace and positioning were the sole reasons the chance was created, so it'd be great to see him have the opportunity to continue creating chances and eventually find his shooting form again.

The Back Line: For what was technically a three man back line of Yang Juna, Lee Ji-nam, and Ko Tae-won, they looked pretty good. More realistically it was a five man back line with Kim Pyung-rae and Kim Young-wook playing defensive midfield roles, so it's not too surprising the middle of the field was quite clogged. It needs to be said that Seoul benched the majority of their offensive power to start the game, but the defense still looked better positionally and the only goal came on a set piece mainly as a result of bad wall positioning. Not a stunning day for the defenders, but only allowing a single goal away to Seoul has to be marked in the Good category.

The Bad
Possession: It's already difficult to score in this league, but when you have the ball a scant 41% of the time, it's going to be near impossible. Unsurprisingly Jeonnam failed to net their own goal on Sunday (the tally came on an Osmar own goal). In fact, the Dragons haven't had over 50% of possession since their April 24th win over Pohang where they eked out the statline with 51%. This is a recipe for tired legs and the other team determining the pace of the game. Two things that continue to kill the Dragons late in games.

Offensive Strategy: Tied direclty to a lack of possession is a lack of any coherent offensive strategy. Yet again Noh Sang-rae has played his team uber defensively and the result was absolutley no help for the three attackers. Perhaps the best example of this came when Oršić and Jugović put together a lovely 1-2 to get into striking position in the attacking third, but the Seoul defense quickly outnumbered them 5-to-2 and there was nothing to do with the ball but retreat. It's completely understandable to have a few mids stay back against Seoul to defend, but occasionally they need to be allowed to join the attack and give the forwards more passing options.

Oršić Up Top: As the team's leading goal scorer it's tempting to just cut out the middle process of getting him into position and just play him up top... but it doesn't really work. Not only does his game thrive much better when he can play the role of facilitator as well, but hold up and/or target play isn’t his strength. He can do it, but it's a waste of his talents. Perhaps the biggest problem with Oršić up top is that he was absent from the game for large stretches of time simply from being too high up field and the midfield's inability to get him the ball.

Poor Finishing: In spite of feeble possession stats, no real offensive strategy, and the best offensive weapon being out of position, the Dragons still had several chances to win this game. Unfortunatley they continue to fail to even hit the target on the vast majority of their shots (just 2 of 10 on frame). With the transfer window opening at the end of this month, it may well be worth considering bringing in some reinforcements up top should the shooting woes continue.

Set Pieces: Defending set pieces continues to be an Achilles heel for this team and yet again they were punished with a bad wall resulting in Osmar's goal. A fair share of the blame also needs to be given to Lee Ho-seung not only for inadequately setting up his wall, but also for putting himself in a bad position to get to the far post. Osmar simply blasted it in a straight line and scored. Inexcusable lapse in set piece defending. What's worse is that the set piece hardships shifted to the offensive end as well where Jeonnam was unable to do anything with 22 free kicks and 1 corner. Yes a good number of the FKs were in the defensive half of the field, but there were plenty of opportunities to create something from a dead ball situation in the offensive half that came to nothing. As I've said before, set pieces come down to coaching and when a team can't get it right at either end there's one man that should be shouldering that responsibility.

Where In The World Is Choi Hyo-jin? For the second game in a row the captain never saw the field. Given the fact that he wasn't even on the roster for the Jeonbuk home game however, I feel like he may have picked up an injury and was simply a last resort off the bench in Seoul? But if he's recovering from injury why make him take the road trip up to Seoul? There's a lot that doesn't make sense here. Namely leaving the team's best defender off the field. 

The Ugly
League Table: The league table has turned ugly for the Dragons. Escaping Seoul with a point truly is a good thing, but it's now that single point that separates them from cellar dwelling Incheon United who picked up their first win of the season over Seongnam this weekend. If Jeonnam can't right the ship very soon they may not even be in a position to have a playoff to stay up. They may simply be given the boot for being last in the standings.


But what do you think?
Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or reactions in the section below 
or you can join the conversation on Twitter by following @MrRyanWalters.
Game stats via kleague.com/eng | Watch full game highlights HERE

5 comments

  1. Jeonnam had some good luck and created little in 2nd half, but they generally defended well. I think Jeonnam's point is down more to Seoul's inability to win a game they should have had no problem with. Supposed that is karma for Kim Vhi-woo's dive.

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    Replies
    1. Not sure the Osmar OG is an exact 1-for-1 for that dive/PK to win it for Seoul, but it's a good start! ;)

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  2. For me, it was one of the most interesting games in the whole season for Jeonnam. They had good chances, and when they won the ball, they were very attacking minded, but finishing just wasn't right. It's much entertaining game than Ulsan away or Suwon away. And I'd rather keep Cho Suk than Stevo, cause Stevo is slowing our game, and sometimes he is selfish. I think draw is the fairest result.

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    Replies
    1. Agree with pretty much everything you said. Would really like to see what our offense would look like with Cho as the regular starter bringing his pace and dribbling skills into the fold. Still think Oršić should be pulled back to midfield though, so maybe the Dragons target a striker in the next transfer window to pair with Cho?

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    2. Jeonnam definitely need another striker. Stevo's time has past.

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