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Shredded Wheat: FC Seoul 3-4 Jeju Utd.

(From The AFC Hub via youtube.com)
For the neutrals and fans of the Tangerines, Monday's game pitting FC Seoul against Jeju United was a great game with end-to-end action.  For Seoul fans, it was yet another stomach punch in a season that is starting to have far too many of them.  Therefore, I will ask, what the hell happened?

As a masochist and fan of Arsenal, I see many parallels between the Gunners and this FC Seoul team.  Both are great for long periods as they put together wonderful attacking moves that make you believe they will be victorious, but in the end they rip your heart out with a monumental collapse.  Rather than recap what happened in the game, I will just focus on three things that stood out.

1.  Seoul started the game poorly- AGAIN!

In what seems to be an alarming habit ever since Shin Jin-ho's departure, Seoul started out lackadaisically again.  There was no fire or passion from the team as the Jeju players were first to every 50-50 ball.  In attack, the team lacked any semblance of ambition, but instead resorted to the desperate tactic of launching balls over the top and hoping that Adriano could run onto them and do something magical.  It did not help that Adriano looked listless and disinterested as well, but that could be he was frustrated by lack of service he was receiving.  In the end, he got an early shower for his efforts as Choi Yong-soo subbed him at the break for Yun Ju-tae.  It would be absolutely unfair however to solely blame Adriano for Seoul's poor performance in the first half.  From front to back, the whole team was dismal and it is a miracle that Seoul were only down by a goal at half-time.

In my preview I predicted that Jeju would line up in a similar formation as Seoul and that the midfield would be quite congested.  I theorized that for either team to have success, then they would need to utilize the wide areas.  I was right about the formations but wrong about the midfield as Seoul were completely dominated in this area in the first half.  Jeju had a number of breaks as the trio of Lee Sang-hyeob, Yun Il-lok, and Takahagi were consistently pressed when they had the ball and bypassed when they did not.

2.  Seoul did have some good moments.  

As I mentioned above, Seoul often tried to play balls over the top for Adriano to run onto or Dejan to win in the air.  Neither tactic worked very well since the Jeju CBs were more than capable of matching Seoul's forwards in the air.  However, Seoul were scintillating when they kept the ball on the grass and either played quick one-twos or balls or found players making runs in behind the defense.  Here is an example of Dejan running in behind the defense and Takahagi threading in a through ball for him to shoot.  This was one of the only times Seoul did anything of note in the first half.

In the second half, the team started out much better and scored a goal right away.  Go Yo-han continues to excel and I do not know what more he needs to do to be a part of Uli Stielike's plans.  He hit a wonderful strike to beat keeper Kim Ho-jun even if it did take a bit of a deflection and was in the right place at the right time to knock in the rebound for Seoul's second.  The second goal was even better and was the result of some great team play as Yun Il-lok started the move and nearly finished it off, but was unlucky as Kim Ho-jun was able to get a hand on it.  This is Yun Il-lok's third game as a center midfielder and the jury is still out.  In the buildup on the second goal, he showed his brilliance and nearly scored, but I am not sure how good he is defensively and he still has a heavy first touch even though his run into the box is great.  I really like Yun and I hope that this works out, but I think Seoul should be desperately scanning the market for center mids that are available this summer.

Maybe Koh Myong-Jin wants to return home rather than playing in the Qatar Stars League.  Qatar does not seem like it would be a fun place to live.  Maybe Koh misses being able to drink a Cass outside of the GS Mart on a Wednesday night because the weather is nice.  Maybe he wants to play in a league that offers a bit of competition.  His team, Al Rayyan, won the league by 14 points and the winner of the Golden Boot was a 35 year old player named Rodrigo Barbosa Tabata with 21 goals. Probably, he does not want to leave though since he is making good money (I assume).  Anyways, here is a GIF of the third goal and a Dejan miss.  Those were the highlights for Seoul.

3.  Unfortunately, Seoul had many more bad moments than good.  

Just as with the forwards and the midfield, Seoul's defense was poor from the start as well.  None of the defenders, especially the CBs were switched on, and it cost the team three points in the end.  The mistakes started as early as the 9th minute.  Jeju were able to break and had the numerical advantage since Osmar and Ko Kwang-min pushed up to support the attack.  Luckily, nothing came of it as Marcelo Toscano could not get on the end of Jeong Yeong-chung's cross.  Two minutes later however, Seoul were again opened up on the break.  This time, it was Kim Dong-woo at fault.  Kim absolutely mistimed his jump and the ball fell to Lee Keun-ho to run onto and run at Kim Won-sik.

In the image below (around the 15th minute), no one picks up Marcelo (poorly draw circle) and this allows Lee Keun-ho (rectangle) to pick him out on the edge of the box.  Luckily, Marcelo's shot went straight to Yoo Hyun.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Kim Won-sik had an especially poor day and he was lucky that Seoul did not concede in the 22nd minute.  In the image below, Marcelo (circle) gets free header because Kim Won-sik (rectangle) does not get tight on his man.  Maybe that is what he is instructed to do, but I think Kim is giving Marcelo too much space in the box.  Marcelo may have missed, but in the second half Kim Ho-nam did not as Jeong Woon's cross somehow beat Kim Won-sik in the air and Kim Nam-chun was on Kim Ho-nam's wrong side.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
In the 34th minute, Takahagi decides to press the midfielder even though there is little chance of him getting the ball and this allows Jeju to get another break.  By my count, this was the fifth really good chance that Jeju had to break the deadlock and Seoul were lucky that the score was still 0-0.  That would soon change as Jeju scored on their sixth break of the day, this time after a Seoul corner.  The three players back are Lee Sang-hyeob (1), Ko Kwang-min (2), and Go Yo-han (3) while Kim Won-sik (4) is hustling back as well.  I have also noted the two players involved in Jeju's goal, Marcelo (A) and Jeong Yeong-chung (B) in the image below.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
The trouble begins when all three players go for the ball and bunch up rather than communicating between each other.  The ball is sent out wide to Marcelo (A) and all three players begin to chase the ball as you can see in the image below.  Even though he scored two goals, Go Yo-han (3) was not good defensively.   He should have stuck with Jeong Yeong-chung (B) rather than trying to be a hero since there was little chance he was going to stop Marcelo (A) from crossing.  Ko Kwang-min (2) puts forth a token effort in trying to pick up Lee Keun-ho's (C) run into the box.

(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Seoul's keeper Yoo Hyun had to get to the cross to save the goal, but instead he flapped and missed the ball.  Yoo Hyun did make some great saves yesterday such as here and here.  Yoo was unlucky with the second goal as Kim Ho-ham reacted smartly and put the ball back for Marcelo to sweetly strike rather than trying to score on the rebound.

On the fourth goal, Osmar's nightmare continued as he was stripped of the ball in midfield and Jeju once again broke with purpose.  After getting the ball inside the box, Kim Nam-ho patiently waited and smartly picked out Kwon Soon-hyung on the outside of the box.  Kwon sent a rocket that Yoo Hyun was unable to save and that was the game.

(From MBC Sports)
This is not the first time that this has happened.  In the match against Urawa, that Seoul won on PKs, the image above shows Kim Won-sik (circle) mistiming his jump and it allowing for Tadanari Lee (triangle) to get an easy goal.  Seoul need to learn from their mistakes or else the euphoria of the early season will be but a distant memory.



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