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A Letter of Concern

(An apt metaphor?  Off the face and into the goal. From FCSeoul.com)
Normally, I would write a preview of Seoul's upcoming match on the weekend against their slated opponent.  However, I no longer feel I have anything worthwhile to say about Seoul.  For the compulsive betting types out there, I would recommend picking Sangju Sangmu as they will win 8-1 (really though, it will probably be 3-2).  Rather, after Wednesday's crushing defeat, I thought I would write a letter to address my concerns.

Hwang Sun-hong, Manager
Seoul World Cup Stadium
World Cup Road 240
Mapo-gu, Seoul
South Korea

Dear Mr. Hwang,

Generally, I eschew writing letters to corporate entities since they are often either ignored or answered with a computer generated response that often fails to deal with the issue at hand.  In fact, the last time I wrote to a company was in 2006 when McDonald's, contrary  to their policy of ceasing the sale of breakfast sandwiches at 11:00 A.M. as clearly posted, refused to sell me a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin.  While this may seem petty, I would argue the converse.  10:45 is not 11:00 A.M. and to state otherwise is inviting chaos and the breakdown of the social order that we know.  If McDonald's is allowed to arbitrarily decide when to cease selling McMuffins despite the established time, then what is next?

Public transit will no longer function punctually and instead, will arrive whenever the driver deigns to pick up the shit-munchers.  Law-and-order as we know it will effectively end and instead, anarchy will take its place.  As human beings, we will return to a dark era when all we had to wipe our asses were the leaves and grass around us.  In sum, the social ramifications of allowing one cashier's dereliction of duty to go unchallenged is much too great.  Not only is present day society at stake, but so is the future of generations to come.  That is why I wrote the letter to McDonald's.  A line must be drawn in the sand and we must be strong for those that cannot.

Upon completion of writing that letter, I felt as though my duty as denizen of Earth was fulfilled and that I could comfortably retire and pursue trivial things such as my employment and social standing.  Alas, after last night's display of folly, I was incorrect and I have been moved yet again to compose a missive stating my disdain.  Please sir, before hitting the delete button, I would beg that you read my full lists of grievance, since I believe that I am in a worthy position to comment.

As a humble blogger and avid fan, I have had the pleasure of witnessing the highs and lows of FC Seoul over the last eight years.  Unfortunately, last night's contest would be one of the lows that was bordering on farce.  The defending was, at best, of an amateur level that would be on display at any local park during an early morning kick around on a Sunday after a night of heavy soju drinking.  If one word could capture the disorganized display of your back three I believe that word would be "folly".

I am curious about what was said to the team before they took to the field.  Was there a discussion about tactics or the importance of focus?  More importantly, did the team study the game film of their loss to Pohang last Saturday?  If so, what was learned?  Based upon my viewing of last night's contest, I would say the simple answer was nothing. 

You started the game so well, coming out on the front foot and creating three great chances.  The goal that Adriano scored was of the highest quality and interesting enough, Seoul's first headed goal this season.  Having just signed on to manage the capital city's team, you must have been elated to get off to such a wonderful start.  I am quite sure you were thinking of the platitudes you would give to your close friend Choi Yong-soo for getting you this gig.  Too bad that went to shit so quickly. 

As a fellow figure of education, I can understand your desire to not focus on the mistakes, but rather to move on from the shambolic exhibition that was submitted by Messrs Kim Dong-woo, Kim Won-sik, and Jung In-hwan.  I would argue otherwise and and encourage you to embrace this in the words of American President, humanitarian, and leader of the free world Barak Obama, as a "teachable moment".   If we do not embrace these opportunities, than how can we as a species expect to evolve?

Because of my inability to explain in words the disaster put forth by Kim Dong-woo for Seongnam's first goal, I will instead use images.  I apologize for the amateurish display, but the version of Windows I am using is XP and unfortunately, I am suffering from an early onset of Parkinson's Disease, so I shake whenever I move the mouse.

(From FCSeoul.com)
So far, there is no danger.  Seoul appear to have everything covered and the player with the ball (square) decides to pass it to Pitu (L).  Could Osmar, who is standing next to Pitu cut the pass out?  Maybe, but there is no reason why Kim Dong-woo (circle) should decide to attack Pitu (L).

(From FCSeoul.com)
Tiago (C) makes a great run after the pass is made to Pitu (L) and has acres of space to run into. There is not much that Shim Sang-min (heart) can do since he is in no-man's land.  The goal was compounded by the fact that Yu Sang-hun came so far off his line.  Yu labors under the mistaken belief that he is like Manuel Neur or Hugo Lloris, a sweeper keeper.  Normally, I would applaud his endeavor, but this time I feel as though Tiago made him look silly.  Yu was quite lucky that he did not make contact with Tiago because most likely, he would have been given a straight red.

Seongnam's second goal of the night was even worse.  Jung In-hwan passes the ball to the sweeper Kim Won-sik, but unfortunately, the pass is way too hard and not close enough for Kim Won-sik to get it.  Tiago intercepts the ball before Kim Dong-woo can get it and Hwang Eui-jo scores an easy goal.  There was no pressure on Jung whatsoever, so why the pass is so wayward is beyond me.

You must have been amazed to be down a goal after such a great start.  What did you say to the troops in the locker room?  Whatever it was, it failed to galvanize them as they immediately conceded a third goal when the second half kicked off.  It was unlucky to for Yu Sang-hun as the ball hit the crossbar and went in off his face.  The GIF does not show the buildup for this goal when Kim Won-sik missed a tackle (a recurring theme) that led to the foul that led to the free kick.  The team was quite fortunate not to concede a fourth.

If this game was fluke, I would write it off as bad luck, but these are not isolated incidents as the following GIFS will demonstrate.  Here is a missed tackle by Kim Won-sik that led to a goal, one by Takahagi that almost led to a goal, a couple by Park Yong-woo (one and two), and seven by the whole team (onetwothreefourfivesix, and seven).  Likewise, along with missed tackles, here are missed headers by Kim Dong-wooKim Won-sik, and Jung In-hwan.  Furthermore, here are two examples of ball watching here and here.  In addition, just as with Jung In-hwan's terrible pass that led to Seognnam's second goal, here are two more (one and two) that could have cost Seoul.  Moreover, here are onetwo, three, four, and five examples of poor marking by the defense and  onetwothreefourfivesix, and seven examples of how the team lost its shape on the counter.  Finally, here are onetwothreefourfive, and six errors by Yoo Hyun.

Unlike the last two years, Seoul have been great going forward.  Deadriano is a lethal combination that I have really enjoyed watching.  Takahagi's passing has been wonderful and before his injury, Ju Se-jong seemed an astute pick up.  The wing-backs Go Yo-han and Ko Kwang-min have been brilliant offensively.  The team is quite good at scoring goals, but unfortunately, no longer is able to keep a clean sheet.  Never in one year have I seen so many glaring, individual mistakes, which speaks to some sort of mental fragility.

As of now, I would implore you to considering switching to a 4-2-3-1.  Seoul's center backs are in terrible form right now and playing three seems to just compound the mistakes.  Maybe removing one CB and pushing Osmar forward will relieve the stress from playing such a high line.  If you choose to stick with the 3-5-2 formation, then I think a new CB or three should be at the top of your shopping list.  Also, maybe you should be on the lookout for a DM and new keeper.

I do not envy your task ahead of you this weekend.  Sangju are team that does well at home and has shown a propensity to score goals.  Last time these two teams met, FC Seoul won 4-0 as Sangju were dominated, so revenge will be in the back of the minds of the military team.  Hopefully, you will have worked out the defensive issues that have played Seoul for the last 10 weeks.  I will end on a positive note by wishing you well.  Should you want to commission my services in the future, I will be more than happy to help for a nominal fee.


John B. Emanuelson, Mayor of Juyeop 2-Dong

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