For South Korea, friendly vs. USMNT a chance to test mental toughness

HongMyungBo (ISIPhotos.com)

By MARC SERBER

CARSON, Calif. – South Korea’s whirlwind tour of the United States will end on Saturday with a match against the host nation.

After defeating Costa Rica 1-0 on Jan. 25 at the L.A. Coliseum, and suffering a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Mexico in San Antonio just four days later, Hong Myung-Bo’s side is back in California to play its third game in seven days.

While the South Korean press grilled the former LA Galaxy defender about Wednesday’s loss, Myung-Bo remained adamant that the goal is to see which members of his entirely domestic-based squad can handle the pressure under “World Cup-like” conditions.

“Our players are very tired both physically and mentally,” South Korea’s player turned head coach told the media in the bowels of the StubHub Center. “I am not anticipating perfect conditions, but this is an ongoing process, so its a good chance to test our mental prospects and our ability.”

With a capacity crowd of 27,000 expected at tomorrow’s match, there’s another opportunity for the K-League’s best players to show they are not overawed by playing in front of big crowds.

The average attendance at K-League matches for 2013 was just above 7,650 and it was apparent in the loss to Mexico that playing in front of over 54,000 spectators was a daunting task. This is another issue that Myung-Bo is keeping a close eye on.

“A lot of players in our squad don’t have the experience playing in front of such a big audience,” Hong admitted through a translator. “I think its going to effect our players, but it will give them a great experience to play in front of such a big crowd.”

Much like U.S. Men’s National Team head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, Hong is closely monitoring closely which players can handle the adversity of large crowds, tight schedules, and keeping a high skill level at the height of mental fatigue.

“At the moment we are preparing for the World Cup,” Hong said. “We have to find out the players who are able to play in the World Cup and who can play in a competitive environment. Although our players are tired and the schedule is tight, we have to overcome these circumstances. This is related to the final squad.”

Despite allowing four goals against Mexico, Hong said there is no need to worry about his side’s defensive tactics.

“Although we conceded four goals, it was not technical (tactical) problems. It was personal mistakes. So I don’t think we will have any problems in terms of the technical (tactical) aspect. Today’s practice we are going to concentrate on testing our physical condition.”

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12 Responses to For South Korea, friendly vs. USMNT a chance to test mental toughness

  1. landon klinsmann says:

    The end of Camp Cupcake. I am hoping Feilhaber has a good showing, but I see Zusi taking this one over.

  2. buttian warlord says:

    The roster i’d like to see for this game:

    ______EJ_________Magee_____
    __________Mixx______________
    _Davis_________________Zusi__
    ________Beckerman___________
    Yedlin________________Parkhurst
    _______Besler__Gonzo_________
    ___________Rimando__________

    Subs: Donovan (probably at half) for EJ, Wondo for Magee, Feilhaber for Mixx.

    Notes:
    -I fully realize that Donovan is not starting in this line up. I know he’s probably still the best player we have in camp, but we’re already know what he can do.
    -I’m of the opinion that EJ should only be used in the last 20 minutes of games, but this gives him (yet another) chance to prove me wrong.
    -I only have Magee over Wondo, because I think he deserves the shot.
    -Parkhurst could be replaced by Evans, and it wouldn’t much bother me.
    -I expect somebody will trash my inclusion of Beckerman.

    • landon klinsmann says:

      Johnson is like Donovan, you know what you are going to get out of him. So since this is only one game I think he sits.

      Coming from Maryland, I have tracked Beckerman for some time and only recently have come to see him as impactful (impactive? impactuous?) at the international level. I think he will start, and a display of form from last summer will punch his ticket to Brazil.

      Yedlin is also a curiosity, with things in such flux at fullback. Will he show enough for Brazil? Coaches always bring one young and hungry player to these tournaments, will it be him?

    • FSegaud says:

      You know there are more than 3 subs allowed so we will be seeing more players

  3. dude says:

    so i guess theres going to be a massive korean crowd

  4. Darwin says:

    I think you mean ‘affect’…

  5. timothy says:

    So from what I understand, the US will face an exhausted South Korean team at home in front of a crowd that will be overwhelming to them. This is sounding more like a cakewalk than it should be. Of course it would be foolish to underestimate the Koreans

    • John Lowe says:

      Most teams play much better after a big loss. I expect maybe 1 goal in the first half. The game will open up in the 2nd half.

  6. takethelongview says:

    I believe that “Dude” above has it correct. I would expect a sizable portion of the sell-out crowd to be pro-Korean. And Koreans in the past have proven quite enthusiastic (read, loud!) supporters of their team. So while they may be exhausted and they be unaccustomed to playing in front of large crowds, it’s possible they get a shot of energy and at least a sense of “home field” from the event tomorrow.

  7. Skyman says:

    Yeah I think the Koreans will bring it, making this game more entertaining, and, potentially ugly for the US. We may all be pissed after this…….
    Would love it if Mike M saved the day with some heroics