The commonality of the best teams in the early stages is a clear ‘U-22 card’
The leaderboard at the beginning of this season’s ‘Hanawon Q K League 1 2023’ is somewhat unfamiliar. Ulsan Hyundai’s leading run was predicted to some extent, but there are quite a few unexpected names underneath. Daejeon Hana Citizen and Gwangju FC, which were considered to be in the relegation zone as promoted teams, are in 2nd and 5th place, and Pohang Steelers, who were considered to be in the round of 6, were undefeated in 5 games (3 wins, 2 draws) and rose to 3rd place. Daegu FC was also ranked 6th on the Maginot Line of Final A.
These top teams have something in common. It is the ‘sure U-22 card’. In the K-League, there is a ‘local rule’ that requires players under the age of 22 to participate. Up to 5 substitutions are possible, but at least two U-22 players must play in order to utilize all 5 replacement cards. If only one U-22 card is used, the number of replacement cards is reduced to three. There are pros and cons about this clause, but the Professional Football Federation is implying that it will continue to adhere to the ‘U-22 compulsory participation clause’.
This provision is the biggest variable in squad operation. A team with a weak U-22 card exhausts two U-22 cards in 15 minutes, the so-called ’15-minute cut’, but there is no choice but to create subtle cracks in organizational power. So it is not a coincidence that Daejeon, Pohang, Gwangju and Daegu, which are cruising in the early stages, have clear U-22 cards.
In Daejeon, there is Bae Jun-ho, Jeon Byeong-gwan, Byun Jun-soo. In particular, Bae Jun-ho, born in 2003, is emerging as a new center of attack in Daejeon. Bae Jun-ho, who went to the U-20 national team, is showing a more mature appearance. He played 58 minutes against Seoul last weekend. Bae Jun-ho, who started his pro career as a ‘super rookie’ last season with high expectations, is continuing the potential he showed in the second half this season. There is Umji Fortress in Gwangju. Um Ji-seong is the ace of Gwangju. As long as there are no injuries, he is a ‘stop (shut up) starter’ who can play full-time in every game.
In Seoul, left fullback Lee Tae-seok and side striker Kang Seong-jin are active as U-22 cards. Lee Tae-seok is a starting player and an indispensable player for Seoul’s defense. Daegu has a clear starting U-22 card, defensive midfielder Lee Jin-yong and side defender Hwang Jae-won. Hwang Jae-won has a greater value of utilization as he goes back and forth between the center and the side. In Pohang, the core of the midfield named Koh Young-joon is playing with the U-22 card. 먹튀검증
They have gone beyond simple U-22 cards and have established themselves as the core of the team. This effect is significant. First of all, you can build the best power from the beginning. There is no need to go through the trouble of inserting and taking out the U-22 card. Here, the U-22 card has to be removed, and unlike other teams, where 3 cards are actually key replacement cards, there is an advantage that 5 cards can be fully used.
Naturally, Suwon FC, Suwon Samsung, and Jeju United, which are performing below expectations, are suffering from U-22 cards. He is exhausting the early stages with 15-minute cuts in each game. It is a concern that there are not enough players to digest this position. Interestingly, Ulsan is running ahead despite not having a U-22 card. Kang Yun-goo, Cho Hyeon-taek, and Jang Si-yeong are being used, but there is no card that breaks. It might be a worry, but coach Hong Myung-bo is using a method of not using all two U-22 cards at all. Even if the number of replacements is 3, it does not seem to be courted.