FIFA international break over. In case you missed it, Jae posted some excellent summaries of the Taeguk Warriors experimental friendlies with Haiti and Croatia. Club football resumes, we go to Korean Footballers Abroad for games to look out for in top flight Euro leagues (all times in US EST / US channels listed. For Korean times +13 hours ahead)
|Saturday||9:30:00 AM||Son Heung Min||Bayer Leverkusen||Wolfsburg||None|
|Saturday||9:30:00 AM||Park Joo Ho||Mainz||Schalke 04||None|
|Saturday||9:30:00 AM||Koo Ja Cheol||Wolfsburg||@Leverkusen||None|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Kim Young Kyu “Kiu”||Almeria||@Atletico Madrid||BeIn Esp/BeIn Play|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Lee Chung Yong||Bolton||Leeds United||None|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Kim Bo Kyung||Cardiff City||@Hull City||NBC Extra Time|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Yun Suk Young||QPR||Birmingham City||None|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Ji Dong Won||Sunderland||Arsenal||NBCSN|
|Saturday||2:45:00 PM||Park Ji Sung||PSV Eindhoven||@Twente||ESPN3 / ESPN Deportes|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Ki Sung Yueng||Sunderland||Arsenal||NBCSN|
Saturday 10 am Hong Jeong Ho Augsburg Freiburg none
UPDATE 9/13/13: Coach Hong is flying to England to meet up with Korean players plying their trade in the Premier and Championship Leagues. He’ll most likely catch the Sunderland/Arsenal match up on Saturday (Ki Sung-Yeung & Ji Dong-Won with Sunderland and Park Chu-Young with Arsenal) before checking in with Kim Bo-Kyung (Cardiff), Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton), and Yun Suk-Young (QPR). Last month he flew to Germany to meet up with Bundesliga side players there including Son Heung-Min, Park Joo-Ho and Koo Ja-Cheol to discuss future plans.
As Jae mentioned, Brazil is up next in October for the Taeguk Warriors. Watching their 3-1 friendly result against Portugal at Foxboro Stadium near Boston, Neymar and company set the agenda – giving no doubt who was going to own the game. If Brazil brings their A team to Korea next month, it will be quite a stress test coming up. No matter the result, it will be interesting how Boss Hong will strategically bring together a squad still searching for a productive formula. A win against Brazil? Not impossible, but I’m not holding my breath. And winning right now really isn’t the point (have I established the easing-the-predicted-loss narrative well enough?) Look, if Korea can show clearly defined progress, let’s say in the creative goal scoring category (a concern/holdover of the Choi Kang-Hee era) and manage some semblance of a defense (adequate set piece defending), the final score against the 2014 World Cup hosts and 5 time World Cup champions shouldn’t matter for Taeguk Warrior supporters as the clock winds its way toward the WC next June. In other words: let’s not get our collective ‘ban-chees’ all caught up in a bind over the scoreline.
Looking at the EPL schedule, Ki Sung-Yeung is set for his Sunderland debut against Arsenal. The Swansea midfielder was loaned to the Blackcats before the September transfer window closed. Will he appear alongside Ji Dong-Won? Not sure, Ji was publicly called out by Paulo DiCanio in their loss against Crystal Palace over a missed header opportunity. After I finally reviewed the game on DVR, Ji didn’t look at all bad – in fact he set up some opportunities for Sunderland to score. The unfortunate part about Sunderland: the rest of the team looks out of sorts – there’s scant evidence of coherence. Why call out Ji when there are other missed opportunities from others like Altidore to focus on for further scrutiny? But to the glass half full: the difference now that Ki is on board could have some vital impact. Ki has potential to organize and better make sense of their scattered offense. Then there’s the prospect of productive value if an advanced positioned Ki links up well with Ji. The last Korean duo-ship worked out fairly well – last season Augsburg avoided relegation – with Koo Ja-Cheol and Ji Dong-Won helping to keep the Bundesliga club afloat. Perhaps that’s why Augsburg looked again to the other side of the world in picking up Hong Jeong-Ho to shore up their central defense. But I digress, cross yer fingers Tavern goers and strap on the seat belt… it could be a bumpy ride in Sunderland.
Here in the US, the Tavern owner has been growing increasingly concerned with the lack of German Bundesliga football coverage on TV. This despite the fact that the Bundesliga is on the up and ups in the European football landscape, evidenced by an all German, Borussia Dortmund / Bayern Munich Champions League title match in London last May. Oh how the Tavern distresses: the influx of Koreans enjoying significant presence on Bundesliga clubs makes not watching their progress on TV stomach pain inducing -even more than the kind associated with my umma scolding and nagging me about my lack of career progress. GOL TV has been going down the tubes for some reason, lacking in several ways: first and foremost they’ve been losing cable network providers left and right over the past year. With NBC broadcasting ALL of the Premier League matches, unprecedented in scope and quality, US (codeswitch alert) soccer enthusiasts have feasted on this glorious visual weekend display, in 1020p High Definition no less. Al Jezeera with their BeINSport channels has been covering some of the gap in coverage, broadcasting a wide array of Ligue 1, English Championship, La Liga and now Russian football – followed by Champions League/Europa League games shown on the newly minted FOXsport1 channel, Rupert Murdoch’s muted answer to ESPN. For the few who subscribe to One World Sports, people might get a chance to see replays of Bayern Munich games. To be fair, they’re the only network to air AFC Asian Champions League games live, as well as a handful of K-League matches. But to even get One World Sports, there’s quite a gauntlet to go through within DISH TV (even the Tavern owner eventually gave up). They are streaming the channel online at oneworldsports.com, but it’s a wonky and sometimes unstable stream. Bets are on as to how long they will stay financially alive as a niche channel. The wait is on then -to see if another network can pick up the Bundesliga before GOL TV disappears forever. Until then, for those Tavern goers in the US, Son Heung-Min, Koo Ja-Cheol, Park Joo-Ho, and Hong Jeong-Ho can only be witnessed live on your laptop – using means that we are not able to openly talk about (wink wink, nod nod). Advice: get a STRONG anti virus protection software before going the route-that-can-not-be-mentioned – you don’t want to go out there unprotected!
Many happy viewings this weekend. While I have Arsenal / Sunderland set to DVR record – I will be missing a whole slew of other games. My brother in law is coming over to help fix the physical Tavern on Saturday. Before that, I’ll be coaching my son’s U6 Spain team – they’re playing against the USA. Last week, his U6 team took apart Brazil 4-2. Miles registered 3 shots and scored on a breakaway. The wife tells me it’s crazy to teach tiki taka to this team of 4 and 5 year olds, but I’m up for the challenge. Besides, they’re Spain – tiki taka is what they do. I’ll have to talk to the director to see if I can establish team South Korea next Spring. Chal-ga-yo!