Let’s get to it, first up: Korean Footballers Abroad with weekend listing (in US EST/US TV& streaming coverage):
Another depressing international break but luck continues to shine on Stielike as Uzbekistan lose, keeping Korea in 2nd spot in the group. Weird XI, subs and complete lack of tactical approach means that every match is a struggle, with holes behind and no imagination going forward. The single star has been Ki who has done his best to fulfill his captain’s responsibility and drive Korea to Russia. Nam Tae Hee was also decent with some good dribbling but uneven in other aspects.
|Ji Dong Won
|Fox Soccer Plus
|Koo Ja Cheol
|Fox Soccer Plus
|Park Joo Ho
|Fox Sports 2
|Lee Chung Yong
|Son Heung Min
|NBC Extra Time
|Kwon Chang Hoon
|Ki Sung Yueng
Ji Dong Won — We’ll see what Baum has in mind vs Bayern… probably Ji as defensive winger as he was not used in Syria match so should be reasonably fresh but could try out alternatives depending on health. Was one of few not terrible vs China, but he was far from good.
Koo Ja Cheol — Koo did play quite a few minutes in both matches but he’s too valuable to leave on the bench so he seems likely to start. Was somewhat invisible in WCQ. UPDATE: Apparently Koo picked up enough yellows to be suspended so isn’t available for the weekend. All those silly fouls.
Park Joo Ho — Revierderby? lol.
Lee Chung Yong — Perhaps he gets a chance to warm the bench again, but I don’t see anything more substantial than that.
Son Heung Min — Played 90 minutes vs Syria, but missing China match due to yellows, means that jet lag + impact of travel greater risk than fitness. With Kane still out, Son will have a big role to play even if at less natural CF position. Hopefully he plays better than vs Syria as he was awful with every touch going a yard too far.
Kwon Chang Hoon — He scored twice… for reserve team. Maybe that combined with two more weeks of integration time will be enough to earn him a look again but likely from the bench.
Ki Sung Yueng — Was great for KNT but not sure that impacts his role for Swansea. With more health at FB, it remains to be seen if Ki or Fer will start. Given all his minutes (full 90 in both matches), he’ll probably start off on the bench. During WCQ, he was the only one who could find cracks in tight defenses and willing to push forward while his teammates were always passing backwards.
Tavern owner here: while it was nice on some level to easily access the Korean WCQing fixtures via ESPN3.com over the last few days – the announcer -whoever he is – IS THE WORST. Didn’t do his homework and butchered the pronunciations of the players. Even if he didn’t know exactly who Nam Tae-hee was – surely he would’ve heard of Ki Sung-Yeung or Son Heung-Min who play for top flight EPL teams. Instead I heard him frequently misidentify the wrong players and kept calling Ki several different names – including Ki Soo Nam – Ki Yung-Son and so on. Please ESPN or AFC or whoever provided english audio for broadcast – please please please DO NOT HIRE HIM TO ANNOUNCE GAMES ANYMORE. Period.
Onto the K-League Classic – returning from international break so they are onto the 4th round in this young season
Saturday, April 1
Sunday, April 2
- THE matchup of the weekend appears to be Jeonbuk v Seoul on Sunday. I’m kind of in disbelief as both are level on points having both won 2 and drawn 1 (Jeonbuk have a one goal differential advantage). K League United has a preview here.
- If you see tweeting about European footballing legends transferring to the CSL in the next 24 hours, just keep in mind what date tomorrow is. Just sayin