Farewell, Cha Duri: Korea 1-0 New Zealand

It was a sad day for Korean football as our favorite Chaminator played his last game for the national team. Cha, despite his weaknesses, always had a breathtaking dribble in him and while he may not have had the same impact as say, Park Ji Sung or Lee Woon Jae, I will remember him just as fondly. In fact, I feel even more sad than when LWJ/PJS/LYP all retired in the space of 4 months, and I’m tearing up just watching the ceremony highlights. Cha truly loved Korean football more than any other player (KSY comes to mind), and his combination of physicality and speed is something we won’t see in another player for quite some time.

CDR’s post-game interview answers,and ceremony highlights, where CDR walks into the dressing room to find his father waiting, dons the gold print jersey, and walks out to a standing ovation to greet the players who have lined up and to give a very emotional speech, can be found on the KFA Facebook page.

As usual, we start out in a 4-2-3-1:

This lineup actually looks awfully similar to the one we fielded in the Asian Cup, with SHM – NTH – HKW – KSY – HKY midfield with KJY + KYK + CDR + KJH in defense. I was hoping for LJS to start again, and for SHM + KSY to rest, but oh well. It was CDR’s farewell, we want to him to leave as a winner right?

Unfortunately, we were really close to scraping by a draw. In the first half there was really nothing to see. And once again, it was the same old story: decent buildup, inability to score. An attack in the box would often be backpassed or side-passed its way back to half field. They had a disallowed goal (it was legitimately disallowed but still), while we had a SHM PK saved that CDR refused to take. I REALLY hoped JDW would score a goal but instead he ran around contributing little and in the end, missed an easy header. Overall, the performance was nothing but poor. Why the likes of KCS, HKY, and KYK, who were both terrible over the last friendlies, keep getting called up is a mystery to me.

On the bright side, we have seen LJS’s abilities and once again, he was probably the only bright spot other than Koo Ja Cheol, who also played decently well, which makes me optimistic for KJC’s Mainz return.

LJS: KNT debut goal
LJS: KNT debut goal

If there’s anything I learned from these last couple of friendlies, it’s that we seriously need some new faces coming in. Our current base hasn’t been performing very well at all and it’s about time we see players like Kim Seung Dae, Son Jun Ho, the two right backs Lim Chang Woo and Oh Jae Suk (ESPECIALLY THESE GUYS), Lee Jong Ho, and others in good form for the K League. Players also need to be much more direct as there’s some serious risk aversion with the KNT where no one runs at a defender and instead goes for the safe pass, pretty much resulting in multiple backpasses all game. Or if we’re going to pass all day, shouldn’t someone be up top running behind the defense? Kim Seung Dae’s already scored two goals with his “line-breaking.” Why isn’t he getting a chance with the NT?

As it’s customary to rate the manager after a series of friendlies, I would have to give Stielike a B or B-. I think he was able to improve the team somewhat during the Asian Cup (I would give his performance at the AC a low A- / high B+), but we’ve regressed pretty hard vs. Uzbekistan and New Zealand, from which I expected two clean wins. However, against two clearly “weaker” teams he called up pretty much all the same players minus LJS and JDH, and his tactics weren’t really on point, nor did the team have ANY sort of chemistry. Even though the K League has already started there’s only one player who made the right impression and that’s LJS. Where was KSD? Or SJH? Or Kim Eun Sun, who was called up but never played? Why does Han Kook Young keep starting when all he’s done so far is lose possession in dangerous areas? As the questions roll in you want to blame fatigue, but is it really just fatigue? As much I support Stielike, he certainly hasn’t done much in the recent March friendlies to justify that support. Perhaps the upcoming East Asian Cup, which will only consist of our domestic players, will make things better. Though I guess players like LJH (who has played decently well), KCS, HKY, and KYK are also domestic players, so maybe we’ll just see the same old all over again.

Fortunately, LJS was able to pounce on a loose ball in the 86th minute and at least send CDR off as a winner, unlike PJS/LYP. Though the game itself was frustrating, CDR’s farewell was truly touching, and we will miss having a player like him on the team.

Fun Facts:

  • Cha Du Ri has a very young son who, hopefully, will go pro and set the Bundesliga on fire.
  • Cha plans on going back to Germany to pursue his coaching / managing license
  • FIFA wouldn’t let CDR wear the gold lettered jersey, so he was subbed off around 42 minutes so he could change into it for the ceremony. He walked into the dressing room to find his dad, who congratulated him and all. I legit cried at this part.
  • Cha was offered the chance to take the PK but refused, and asked that SHM take it instead, saying that it was more important to take the lead. He said he had a feeling SHM would miss though, and that perhaps KSY should take it, but in the end gave it to SHM anyway. I believe that it was the first PK SHM has ever taken.

 

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