Jeremy can’t do the midweek roundup so I’m filling in. Short but sweet, let’s get to it:
Kim Bo-Kyung & Wigan couldn’t manage Millwall, lost 2-0 on Tuesday and are further in trouble, more than 8 points from safety.
K-League Round 6 results
Wednesday, April 15
K-League Challenge Results
Gangwon 0 – 1 Goyang Hi
Sangju Sangmu 3 – 2 Seoul E-Land FC
Daegu 2 – 2 FC Anyang
Bucheon 1995 0 – 0 Chungju Hummel
Suwon City 2 – 2 Ansan Police
K-League Talking Points:
- To use the Jefferson’s theme song (yes -I’m that old) FC Seoul are moving on up (sing with me, moving on up!). First couple of games, the capital club were racing with Daejeon to the bottom. Since Park Chu-Young’s arrival, they’ve been undefeated, going 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 league matches. [note: I did get to see a good part of the game live, a bit lacking in attendance, some varying degree of quality on pitch, but a stellar goal by Kim Hyun-Sung to make himself a human missile, launched himself on trajectory and struck the ball with his head into the net.
- Emphatic win for Pohang, the Steeler sent Jeonnam to the lockers 4-1. First blood goes to Moon Chang-Jin, brace by Son Joon-Ho and finally Kim Seung-Dae sealed it up. Kim Young-Wook with Jeonnam’s consolation goal in stoppage time.
- Some controversy in Sangju as Seoul-Eland looked to have earned a point and an away draw with the army team. Last minute goal crushed that opportunity -but there’s some talk that a red card issued to a Seoul E-Land player was without merit. See for yourself:
Yet another mystery red card for SEFC. They must have upset someone somewhere… https://t.co/L5kLyrjyRz
— Stephen Waddell (@the48clubkorea) April 16, 2015
We start in England where Ji So-Yun has been a lovely beast for Chelsea Ladies – a congratulations is in order for this today:
— PFA (@PFA) April 16, 2015
Back to Korea where the Nike Most Wanted Challenge has wrapped up in Paju – and we have a winner: 16 year old Kim Ho-Seung, a virtual unknown with zero hype factor, this according to the Korea Times. The 2nd year Boin High School (Seoul) student will now fly to England compete at St George’s Park for Nike’s Global Showcase at the end of April. Should he win a spot in Nike’s academy, he’s virtually assured a European club contract – though perhaps not with a top flight club. Though Boin High has been known for producing quality football talent (count Mainz’ Koo Ja-Cheol as an alum), Kim wasn’t on many people’s radar as he hasn’t featured regularly for Boin’s team. However, he killed the skills performance test and excelled at a SPARQ analysis (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, Quickness). What really got the attention of the national team coaches was his performance during scrimmages. From the Korea Times: “As he dribbled past some four or five opponents in the front line during the second half, Korea Football Association coaches who evaluated the players became interested…” Maybe it helped that he played as a midfielder instead of his usual leftback position. Anyway, good luck to Kim and his journey/challenge in England.
Ki Sung-Yeung has already surpassed Park Ji-Sung’s record for most goals by a Korean in a Premier League season (Ki’s 7th scored against Hull 2 weeks ago) but despite accolades coming in from all quarters of the English football media, he gets nothing but guff from his father. Ki Young-Ok critiqued his son’s forward adventures this season, telling Naver that his heading capabilities are lacking. According to senior Ki, his ‘uma’ also agrees that his inability to score headers is a liability. I have to pause for a moment – it’s incredibly hilarious, the narrative framed is pure Korean comedy gold, whereby nothing – not even beating Ji-Sung’s record in the Premiership – is ever good enough for a Korean father. Is that why, perhaps, we also find the elder Ki unable to contain himself and his opinions about football, that he’s done sitting by the sidelines with this news: Ki Young-Ok has stepped into the role of being Gwangju FC’s new general manager, this according to Yonhap news. General Ki at Gwangju FC. Is the balance of power shifting in the K-League?
Hoo hoo hoo – senior Ki’s moment in the media-light not over yet: this just in from the twittersphere:
some quotes from Ki's dad. should he move to a "big" club, he wants Ki to play for Liverpool. http://t.co/4Fb2FPxUmz
— Takeuchi (@Takeuchee) April 17, 2015
hmm…no comment from me on that one.
We were speaking of Park Ji-Sung earlier, the newly named Suwon JS Cup [named for Suwon’s favorite hometown hero] 2015 U18 tournament is about to kickoff later this month. Here’s a promo for it:
And here’s the schedule for the tournament:
As it relates to Team Korea’s fixtures:
Korea v Uruguay WED April 29 7am EST / 8pm Korea Time
Korea v Belgium FRI May 1 4am EST / 5pm Korea Time
Korea v France SUN May 3 5am EST / 6pm Korea Time
The big news rippling from this event is Lee Seung-Woo and Paik Seung-Ho, both Barcelona academy players given the green light by the club to participate in this. Many in Korea are anticipating seeing especially Lee Seung-Woo, who responded to the media about his “Korea Messi” moniker. From Steve Han’s write up in KoreAm today:
“It’s an honor to be called the Korean Messi,” Lee said in a press conference at the Incheon Airport on Wednesday after he arrived from Spain to join Korea’s under-18 team for the upcoming international tournament in Suwon. “I want to be the best just like Messi. Just like Messi, my goal is to win the Ballon d’Or.”
Whoa, did he just say his goal was to win the Ballon d’Or? Bold words, but as Steve Han wrote in his piece about him, “[Lee] is never shy about making bold statements.”
Take for example’s last year’s bold prediction from Lee before an AFC Championship match, yes that one where he said “Beating a team at the level of Japan would be easy” initially raised a lot of eyebrows. Some were worried that he’d either jinxed Korea in the tournament or had become too cocksure of his own abilities and would regret it on the pitch. It didn’t happen. He backed up his words with a brilliant brace that left Japan in the dust 2-0.
The ever quotable Lee also generated news for his hope that he would become the youngest Korean to represent the Taeguk Warriors on the senior squad. Tavern Statistician, time to earn your salary dammit! “IR-RE-WA! BALLI BALLI!”
Yes Tavern Owner… the record holder is Kim Pan-Keun and in 1983 he stepped onto the pitch for his first cap at age 17…and 241 days. For Lee Seung-Woo, who turned 17 on January 6, he has until September 2015 to beat Kim Pan-Keun’s record. There are only 6 Korean National Team games scheduled out that far, the first World Cup Qualifier against Myanmar (Burma) followed by the EEA tournament late summer against China, Japan and North Korea.
Well then. Nicely done Tavern Statistician. You get to keep your job.
One more thing on Park Ji-Sung:
The AFC Quarterly may sound like propaganda from yet another Sepp Blatter kowtowing entity, but the latest issue has something on Ji-Sung and his role as a Man U football ambassador. He seems to be doing more than just fulfilling a perfunctory role, he has a lot on his mind on systemic issues relating to Korean/Asian football and bridging the quality gap with Europe. From the article:
He [Park Ji-Sung] believes there is a need to put new infrastructure in place to take advantage of the strengths of the region and mitigate against the weaknesses…”I know the systems between Asia and Europe are different so we need to develop as quickly as we can, but as soon as we do then we can really be similar to Europe. It’s definitely a long-term project…”
Update: 4th Round of the Korean FA Cup draw is in….
The results of the draw for the 2015 KFA Cup Round Of 32. pic.twitter.com/7auaQTKmOW
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) April 16, 2015
and here’s the roster announced for the U18 squad. We’ll update in english at some point soon, but it’s late, 1:16am here and I’m about to close the Tavern for the night. Pook Cha!
but I still don’t see Barca academy teammate Jang Gyeol-hee…why isn’t he on the roster?
Last word: I had the misfortune of turning off the radio after coming home from my son’s soccer practice, the last tune was sung by Phil Collins. And whatever that song is, it’s still pinging around in my head. Please…stop the misery. Since the ultimate football hipster Jurgen Klopp is leaving BVB, I’ve been thinking about the essence of ‘hip’. How to describe it? At the very least, the essence of hip would have to include good quality music. Not conventional, but original, unique and very very cool. I know there are people from all over the world tuned into the Tavern, what are bands from where you are at that you consider ‘hip’? or at the very least, not square. From New Zealand to Iceland, from Seoul to Barcelona, knowing that music is very subjective, what’s something cool and under the radar that you can turn me onto? And you better damn well better not say Phil Collins…