Incheon United has changed.
Incheon is on a roll. On April 22, Incheon earned a 1-0 victory over FC Seoul in the 24th round on the road, thanks to an early goal from Mpoku. After beating Ulsan Hyundai, Daejeon Hana Citizen, and Seoul, Incheon has now won three straight games for the first time this season.
It’s a far cry from the start of the season. Incheon was considered a ‘top-five contender’ just before the start of the season. The team had been active in recruiting, bringing in the league’s best crack, Jerso, from Jeju United, as well as midfielder Shin Dong-ho. The addition of Shin Dong-ho to the existing Lee Myung-joo midfield was expected to be the best in the league.
But it didn’t work. The synergy didn’t work as well as expected. After signing Shin Shin-ho, Incheon adjusted its play style to the midfield. They came out with a concept of possession soccer, which was different from their previous style of playing, but it didn’t fit.
Their mobility was poor, and their coverage in the middle was lacking. The wingbacks were biased towards the center of the field, and the offense was not able to develop smoothly. This is one of the reasons why Incheon finished the first round robin at the bottom of the table. In this situation, Shin Shin-ho was sidelined with an injury after the match against Daegu on May 27. He sprained his toe. His departure, which was the centerpiece of the midfield buildup, seemed to be looming large, but it’s a close call.
Incheon has been playing Kim Do-hyuk-Moon Ji-hwan or Kim Do-hyuk-Myung-joo combinations in recent matches, and it’s working. The style has also changed. Instead of building up in the center of the field, Incheon played the ball forward quickly. Instead of low possession, they have created scoring chances with simple, quick connections.
In fact, during their three-game winning streak, Incheon had a lower possession percentage than their opponents. It was 37% against Ulsan, 49% against Daejeon, and 37% against Seoul, but it was not far behind in shots and shots on goal. Incheon maintained a balanced offensive and defensive balance in the three games, scoring five goals and conceding one. 스포츠토토
Incheon head coach Cho Sung-hwan nodded in agreement. After the game against Seoul, Cho said, “With the signing of Shin Shin-ho and Jerso (for this season), we prepared to play a little more up front, pressing and dominating the opponent, and that was a bit unfortunate. We were lacking in many areas, so we’re playing the same style as last year, but it’s true that we’re producing results.”
With 33 points, Incheon has moved up to eighth place. It’s been three months since April 22. Incheon, on the rise, is looking higher.