Ahh October is finally just around the corner. I’ve never really thought about this much but I must say I love October. Weather’s just right, my birthday’s in October, but even better, WE GET A TON OF KNT MATCHES IN OCTOBER!! In fact, the KNT was compelled to even make this sort of calendar – read on for a preview of what 10月 has in store for us, complete with full rosters and schedules!
Starting from the bottom, we have the FIFA U17 World Cup, led by head coach Choi Jin Chul.
The team actually just flew out to the US (I believe, Florida IIRC) to play some practice matches against the US. Can Lee SW and Choi JC match the feat achieved by Son HM and Lee Gwang Jong back in 2009? I suspect no, mainly because we were so awful during the Suwon U17 tournament, but Choi JC has time to get his act together, and Lee and Jang have some time to finally get themselves in shape. To be honest I don’t care about the first two fixtures, I just want us to beat England 🙂
And then there’s the AFC U19 Championship Qualification that’s going on right now. As expected it’s way too easy:
Now THAT’S a team I’m super excited for. There’s Pohang’s RB beast Woo Chan Yang (who I thought would start but I guess not), the standouts from the Suwon U18 tournament Lim Min Hyeok, Kim Jung Hwan, and Lee Dong Jun, and the star of that one tournament in Russia, Kang Ji Hoon. How we conceded two goals is beyond me but oh well, I’m sure something dumb happened with the DF as our genes dictate (I’m convinced bad defending has been in our genes, even the Eternal Libero that is HMB had his share of mental gaffes, notably vs. Turkey).
Then there’s two U23 Olympic KNT friendlies against Hoju (Australia) – and let me tell you, Shin Tae Yong picked a very strange side that’s missing his midfield core like Moon Chang Jin, Kwon Chang Hoon (who’s with the A team atm), and Lee Chang Min. Another notable absentee is Cho Suk Jae, who is currently beasting up in the K League Challenge and is just behind top scorer Joo Min Kyu in the goalscoring chart.
Some eyebrows here. Ji the Alcorcon striker? Hwang Hee Chan, who’s only 19 years old? Song Ju Hoon, the beast CB from the 2013 U20 days who more or less ruined his career by moving to Japan and benchwarming all day* (whereas his counterpart Yeon Je Min is having a great time at Suwon right now?) Does STY expect his midfield to be carried by the super rusty Ryu Seung Woo? Whatever comes out of these two Aussie friendlies it might not be pretty.
*Aside: it looks like the prejudice against Korean players in Japan is actually a thing – Jung Woo Young mentions how when Sekizuka, the ex-Japan U23 coach who lost the bronze medal to us in the Olympics in 2012, became coach of Iwata, all three Koreans (Jung, Baek Sung Dong, and a center defender who’s name I don’t recall) disappeared from starting XI’s. Very similar to Yoon Jung Hwan getting fired from Sagan isn’t it? I guess the hatefulness runs very strong in both countries even to this day…
And, the very recently released Senior A Team roster for Jamaica and Kuwait!
I’m fairly optimistic given how well the previous matches went vs Lebanon and Laos. On paper, we should be able to beat with ease any CONCAF team that’s not Mexico Costa Rica or the USA, but given Jamaica’s strong outing at the Gold Cup (knocking out the USA) who knows?
As for the squad… I love the inclusion of JDW and KJC, the latter of which has REALLY stepped it up for Augsburg. Ji hasn’t scored a goal in like forever, so hopefully he can find some confidence – it’s definitely been coming back for him thus far. The defense is it’s usual self, but this time we get Changsoo instead of Changwoo, which slightly disappoints me. Personally I’d put PJH left back and KJS right back, but either Stielike doesn’t know that KJS played RB back in the day, or he doesn’t like the idea.
If we play a 4-1-4-1, we’ve got a seriously stacked MF. I expect SHM-LCY to stay as our wide men, but in the center? Oh boy – we got 4 VERY strong, in form offensive mids in Ki, Lee JS, Kwon CH, and Koo JC. I’d play KJC because he’s certainly the most in form KPA at the moment, and I’d put KSY in the midfield “1” just because I’m still not impressed by Jung WY, and HKY has failed to impress pretty much every time since his beast U23 debut in 2011 pre-Olympics. As for the forwards, Suk is certainly the favorite to start – he’s the second highest scorer in the league with 5 goals (and 4 assists!)
Anyway – look forward to a GREAT run of TEN KNT matches in a single month. I know I’m gonna be rocking the kit throughout New Haven this October – wherever you guys are, wear that KNT crest with pride this month!