On the 5th, the match between Gangwon FC and Ulsan Hyundai held at the main stadium of Chuncheon Songam Sports Town was filled with 6,199 spectators. This is a new record for the highest number of spectators in Gangwon-do since 2018, when the paid spectator count was introduced. The previous record for the largest number of spectators was 5823 at the Suwon Samsung Match on August 17, 2019. An official from the Gangwon club said, “All the MD items prepared, such as cheering mufflers, uniforms, and signed balls, are out of stock. It was the highest sales ever for the club, which is about five times the average sales last year.”
However, compared to the hot field heat, coach Choi Yong-soo’s depth is getting deeper. Gangwon lost both games after opening. It is the only one among the 12 K League 1 teams that has neither a point nor a goal. Following a 0-2 defeat in Daejeon and the opening round, they lost 0-1 in the second round as well as the home opening match against ‘defending champion’ Ulsan.
Although it is in the early stages, what coach Choi is concerned about is the injury and poor condition of the main agent who should serve as the culmination of tactics. Even before the start of the season, he had a lot of concerns about his team conditioning. The main factor was the unprecedentedly long break, as the season started early in the aftermath of last year’s World Cup (Qatar) and ended in the fall. He predicted that it would be difficult to build an even team condition starting from the winter training camp as each player had a large variance in body management. Teams with overwhelming squads, even bench resources, such as Ulsan or Jeonbuk, can respond to variables, but the rest of the team is at high risk. In particular, Gangwon’s foreign striker Dino and midfielder Han Kook-young left last season due to long-term injuries. With more variables than other teams, they prepared for the new season from the Winter Training Center.
Concerns are emerging early on. In order to support the three-back he is pursuing, it is important to have the strength to endure and extend from the side as well as from the midfield. However, after a long hiatus, veteran Han Han-young did not fully develop a sense of actual combat, so his power was less than before. To make matters worse, Alibayev, who was ambitiously recruited by coach Choi, also suffered a hamstring injury. He was put in as a substitute in the second half of the game against Ulsan and made his first appearance, but he is not in 100% physical condition. 메이저놀이터
The front line of attack is also in an emergency. Korean striker Lee Jeong-hyeop suffered a knee injury. Foreign striker Dino took charge of the last two games, but only made two shots. The two wingers Kim Dae-won and Yang Hyeon-joon are struggling to keep the opponent in check, but Dino, who needs to focus on the attack, is not showing the same sharpness as before. Director Choi said, “As a result of the diagnosis at the hospital, it took about six weeks for Lee Jeong-hyeop to recover. Dino, who lost last year due to a long-term injury, is not in normal performance… ” he said sadly.
Still, Kim Dae-won, Yang Hyeon-joon, and Gallego came together to show off their fierce performance in the second half of the game against Ulsan. Director Choi showed a willingness to solve the current conundrum by maximizing the positional change and creativity of the second-line agents.
In addition, the critical gaze of many fans toward the owner of Gangwon, Governor Kim Jin-tae, is also a concern. Governor Kim appeared on the ground in search of the home opener against Ulsan, grabbed the microphone, and greeted the crowd. However, loud booing poured out around the Gangwon supporters’ seats. In addition to the cancellation of the construction of a soccer-only stadium, which was promoted during the full-time provincial government, there were reasons such as the mysterious failure to renew the contract of former CEO Lee Young-pyo, who led the club until last year. How Governor Kim soothes angry public sentiment is also expected to be an important factor in reversing the atmosphere for Gangwon clubs.