Costa Rica 0 : Korea 1 / Match Report Part 1 + roundup/wrapup

2014 for Hong Myong-Bo starts in the win column vs Costa Rica, though can we take much from the result?  We’ve got a 2 part match report –  Part 1 game summary by our new Tavern writer Tim Lee.  Expect later today Part 2 from Jeremy Paek, he was there in the flesh reporting on the overall experience at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last night.  Let’s go right now to Tim Lee’s report:

[NOTE: at the end of this report – be on the lookout for the conclusion to yesterday’s quasi-Roundup of Korean footballers seeing action in Europe yesterday – a record 9 players including Ji Dong-Won’s goal against BVB and Ryu Seung-Woo’s debut for Bayer Leverkusen.]
Pregame
Our Red Devils ‘B’ squad began their series of 3 friendlies in the States with a match up against Costa Rica at the Coliseum in LA. The stadium was practically empty, save for a decent amount of Korean fans. The huge stadium of 100 000 was filled at about 10% capacity.

football formations

Kim Seung Kyu got the start between the sticks while Lee Keun Ho started the game behind towering Ulsan Hyundai forward Kim Shin Wook.  Around Lee, Japan-based Kim Min Woo on left (and one of HMB’s favorites), Go Yo Han, on his right. Deeper midfield: Lee Myung Joo and Park Jong Woo, two players who could want to pair up with Ki at the World Cup if Han Kook Young hasn’t already got that spot. Kim Jin Su and Lee Yong are both likely Brazil-bound and they were named to a starting XI that needed their crosses and Kang Min Soo and Kim Ki Hee were named as centre backs.
Costa Rica, in their Juventus-esque jerseys, seemed to have fielded a side that will likely be the weakest of our three opponents in this American tour. The side consisted of mostly local players with a couple Australian toss ups and a pair of MLS’ers. I have never heard of ANY of these players. They lost just a couple days ago 4-0 to a Chile reserve side. They are going to the World Cup to likely play just three games – Italy, England and Uruguay are all lined up for them.
First Half
So the first half went underway as signaled by the – err – referee who needs to get a gym membership and soon – sorry, had to be said.
It didn’t take very long for Kim Shin-Wook, playing as the lone striker in HMB’s favorite 4-2-3-1 formation, to open the scoring for Korea. He chipped home a pass from Ko Yo-Han with the shin. Lee Yong was involved with a sweet pass to create the goal in the 9th minute to set the tempo for a largely Korean-dominated first half.

In the 15th minute, an absolute BEAUTIFUL cross from Lee Yong met the head of Kim Shin-Wook who ducked into the header and didn’t get it on goal. Nonetheless, the cross was just tasty from the Ulsan Hyundai player.
Around the 36th minute was Korea’s next big chance, with a Kim Shin-Wook header finding Kim Min-Woo on the run. He was one on one with the Costa Rican keeper, but his left footed shot was right at him. Really poor finish from the Sagan Tosu man. That was our best chance that was not converted all game.
A little later Park Jong-Woo (remember? He got wrist-slapped for holding the Dokdo sign at the Olympics?) showed his over-aggressive style. A sharp tackle was followed up a couple minutes later with a hockey-style bodycheck and that ultimately earned him a yellow card.
All the players seemed excited, almost too excited to want to impress Hong Myong-Bo and his coaching staff, constantly attacking. It was nice to see lots of one touch fluid football, but the Taeguk Warriors weren’t controlling the game and therefore weren’t getting enough chances. This opened up room for Randall Brenes, the fourth highest capped and highest goalscorer named to the squad, and the Costa Rican rifled a low volley just wide of Kim Seung Kyu’s net around the 40th minute. Costa Rica settled into the game much nicely after.
Second Half
The second half Costa Rica starting coming out a bit more to play. The game, described by many on BSK forums as “Sundayleague-like”, became less lopsided, with the Costa Ricans settled in much much more.
Now the definition of “settling in” for Costa Rica maybe translates as <to foul a lot more>.  La Sele just began to lose their discipline and Meneses in the 67th minute was sent off for an absolutely DISGUSTING two feet studs up tackle on Lee Yong.
From this point on Korea was simply not going to score, and neither was Costa Rica. The latter made change after change, sub after sub, and the one man advantage by Korea was pretty much nulled out because of the constant fresh legs on the Costa Rican side. Korea’s best chance of the half came when Lee Keun-Ho’s pass deflected onto Kim Shin-Wook’s head, who was a couple metres in front of the keeper, but his header was out of sync with his jump and it lobbed up to be easily tipped over.
Mauricio Castillo was Exhibit B when it comes to Costa Rica non-discipline, picking up a yellow for an aimless Kim Jin-Su shove as the ball was rolling out of touch. Near the end of the half, the short Costa Rican tugged on Kim Shin-Wook’s shoulder as he was looking to speed up the play, and he became the second send off for Los Ticos. Kim Shin-Wook was subbed out to great acclaim from the Korean fans and Lee Seung-Gi came in. The Jeonbuk midfielder got a good chance on his first touch, volleying an Lee Keun-Ho pass just over the bar.
Cue a slight formation change – Lee Keun-Ho became the lone striker and Lee Seung-Gi played behind him.
Other than a Kim Jin-Su cross that our attacking players all missed in slapstick fashion, and Son Jin-Hyung coming on to sub for the minute or so left in the game, (oh, and a Kim Min Woo chance into the side netting as he slipped on the shot), Korea seemed content to backpass despite having a two man advantage and Costa Rica did little to look for an equalizer.
Whistle blows, and Korea bag a 1-0 win in which I almost fell asleep twice.
Thoughts
Costa Rica was more annoyed than anything. This photo sums up their performance today.
A result like this was kind of to be expected. Everyone was rusty after their winter break and playing their first game in a couple months. Everyone was eager to make that stand out performance to maybe grab one of those bench spots in Brazil, but the game was messy, passes misplaced and attack too predictable. Costa Rica really presented little opposition; they were on the back foot the whole game, literally, the whole game. Other than a few minutes to close and open the second, they seemed uninterested and were content to sit back, occasionally press high but pretty much defend a messy Korean midfield. Brings back memories of the EAFF.
Despite that, Hong Myong-Bo did a good job of turning this into a half decent Korean squad, with our overall team flow much better than what He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named left us with.
Let me get a crack at the ratings then – feel free to disagree (and keep in mind I’m a bit of a green writer – but on a separate but related train of thought, I HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY AS KI SUNG YUENG! Whoa.)
Ratings
I like to have 6 as the base score for my ratings, so a 6 means okay performance. Below that means cruddy and in the 7-8 range is a good game.
GK-Kim Seung Kyu (6)
Not much he could do today, as CR looked sleepy and he didn’t have to stop a shot on target if I remember correctly. I have employed a Tavern statistician of my own but she was more interested in trying to colour our only Taegukki in the house.
DF-Kim Jin Su (7)
Good game from Kim Jin Su, he is always a consistent bright spot with several decent crosses today. I’m pretty sure he’s coming to Brazil.
DF-Kang Min Soo (6)
To be fair, I didn’t notice him much.
DF-Kim Ki Hee (6)
Maybe a little bit better than Kang Min Soo but there wasn’t much he could do today to prove his skills.
DF-Lee Yong (7.5)
I like Lee Yong. A lot. I mean when that dirty tackle came in I was pretty much yelling! He’s become so important. His crosses were a bright spot today, and he was key in the buildup to the goal. In this 4-2-3-1 formation he has become such an important player because of his accurate crosses on a good day.
DM-Lee Myung Joo (6)
Didn’t see much of him either. Now this could be in part to me confiscating crayons (if you read EVERYTHING I wrote than you know what I mean) but he hasn’t shown me why he should come to Brazil.
DM-Park Jong Woo (6)
**Slightly** better than LMJ today, but the yellow card was just unnecessary. Again, I’m not totally convinced about him either. Took set pieces today.
AM-Kim Min Woo (6.5)
A very generous 6.5 for someone who fluffed a one-on-one opportunity in true Taeguk style. Sorry, but he clearly isn’t a finisher. But he was lively and but decent at best. Nothing too amazing from him, I’m going to reserve further judgement on him here.
AM/FW-Lee Keun Ho (7.5)
Good game from the Captain in a sense. He tried a couple too many long range attempts and his finishing is still frustratingly sad, but he created a few chances. He seems to be the epitome of a Korean AM – creates chances but can’t score. Moved into the lone striker role with KSW was subbed off.
AM-Ko Yo Han (6)
What did he do today? Why is he still being called up for the NT?
FW-Kim Shin Wook (7.75)
Best player of the game so I tacked on a rare quarter point for laughs. His tall presence is very helpful and a lot of the crosses are towards his tall frame. He is a very important player that is coming to Brazil no doubt. Almost every Korea chance had him involved in it. I can’t stress enough how having a tall player is important, and he’s connecting well with crosses from Kim Jin Su and Lee Yong.
SUBS:
Lee Seung Gi (6.5)
Didn’t have time to do much – I’m not getting all the BSK Korea love for him. Did seem confident though.
Kim Tae Hwan (6)
Did he do anything?
Son Jin Hyung (n.r.)
Feel sorry for him. He only came on for like 30 seconds.
Hong Myong Bo (7)
Okay, there wasn’t much he could do seeing that it’s a B team was players short on caps playing their first game in a few months and still did make Korea into a decent team. But he only made three subs today – does that mean he already knows who he’s taking to Brazil? Is he trying out tournament rules? Anyhow, that was my main question mark – and I’m wondering if him telling the team to slow it down had anything to do with our constant back-passes after two Ticos were sent off. It was a boring game that had some bright spots but showed that our depth team isn’t as amazing as we would like.
Ok, so if you’re still here, you’ve maybe gotten the gist of how things went today. Rusty players vs. rusty players, but Costa Rica were just horrendous today. My high school team can put in more effort and seem more interested in a game than that. I can’t stress enough how boring and sleepy they were today. Korea were messy, out of sync, had a hurried then painfully slow attack, they seemed out of form and just boring to watch, if dare I say. I’m still wondering why we didn’t attack with a 2 man advantage. It seemed we were happy to win 1-0 in a practice game. But this performance is to be expected in a friendly (which Costa Rica turned less friendly) with B team players seeing their first action in a few months, with little chemistry together, and playing in a quasi-empty stadium.
Next up is Mexico, depending on the roster of LigaMX players, it may not be an easy opponent for Korea. They should face a hostile crowd and it’s time to see what depth players we’re going to bring to Brazil.
Anyhow, that’s all from me today here at Tavern Studio Canada. What a day we’ve had, Roy’s in a better position to give judgement on this but one of the busier Saturdays (N.A. Time) indeed. The Taegukki is flying high here too in memory of Ji’s goal and a Korea NT win (cue people saying “its a friendly! result doesn’t matter too much” i know, i know…) and I can proudly say it is crayon free. It has been salvaged from the wrath of my younger siblings! My bed is calling. Jalgayo!
Tim Lee / Contributing Writer 
>>Tavern Owner note: I was so excited yesterday about Ji’s goal, I went a bit further and included what I thought would be a brief glance around Europe. Turns out it was a quasi-Round up -but I had already given the task of the official roundup to Tim Lee. It’s important to take another look at pretty epic day for European based Korean footballers (which didn’t have Park Ji-Sung’s performance when I posted originally). Plus, Ji’s revitalization of his career in Germany and Ryu’s debut for Bayer Leverkusen could be significants event for the future of the KNT. Let’s go back to Tim Lee for the conclusion of the January 25 roundup:
January 25 Tavern Round up/Wrap up

I’m still going to throw in a couple personal thoughts from this weekend’s action.

PARK JI-SUNG

90 minutes for PSV Eindhoven, a 1-0 win against AZ Alkmaar (3rd minute goal by Jetro Willems). 2 shots, 1 on target for Park, who Jae Chee noted earlier in the Tavern that he will politely bow out of making his 4th World Cup appearance for Korea).

RYU SEUNG WOO
I was freaking out when I heard the news of him being subbed on. He travelled with the team back from winter camp so I expected him to watch from the bench, but with the score 2-2 at Freiburg, Ryu was brought on for Son. Special moment there – one Korean in, another Korean out. Anyhow, he looked lively and confident and even made a backheel pass in the penalty box to try to get an offensive chance. He drew a foul in the 89th minute as well. It was his first European game and he looked a good player for the little time he had to show off his talent. Promising.
PARK JOO HO
Beautful pass. Just lovely. After a poor first half, he shifted to Defensive Midfielder and we got this:

JI DONG WON
While I was connecting to a stream that must not be named: Firstly, it must be awkward watching your current team playing against your future team from the bench. What’s more awkward is to get subbed on to try to make a difference against your future team. What’s much more awkward is scoring. But that won’t happen WHAAAAT! (Stream connects, Ji scores).
That seriously happened. I was bored with the Son game and heard Ji was coming on so I switched over much to my delight.
Funny thing though – all BVB goals were scored in a way by BVB. Bender had an own goal and Ji scored too and he’s a future BVB player.
Here’s the header – and a brief smirk from Jurgen Klopp!

So yeah, a pretty damn good weekend for KPA’s. Ji the Sunderland flop scores against last year’s CL Finalists and Ryu makes his international bow. Happy Day 🙂
Tim Lee / Contributing Writer
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