There’s something to be said for watching players from a foreign land come over and make a strong impression in the MLS – but not the kind that you’re thinking of. Sure, it’s great that the likes of Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are finding success in the States, but we’re referring to the players who haven’t really got much name value behind them by the time they arrive in America.
We value them all equally when it comes to raising the overall profile of the league itself, but there’s just a special element to the unknown stars of tomorrow rising up that we can’t avoid. For example, Hwang In-beom isn’t someone that most folks would’ve heard of prior to this season, and yet now, he’s on his way towards becoming a household name.
Cult hero status incoming?
As reported by Whitecaps FC, the 22 year old made his way over to Vancouver from Daejeon Citizen in his home nation of South Korea. The midfielder was widely considered to be one of his hometown’s best players throughout the course of his tenure with the club, and in addition to that, he also made quite the impression on the national team.
Hwang featured in the 2018 Asian Games for South Korea, and in the process, he helped them to capture a Gold Medal. As a result he was discharged half way through his military service as a reward, which was mandatory right up until the point they were able to capture the gold.
It’s a great feel-good story, and yet, it somehow didn’t peak until the Vancouver Whitecaps came up against Los Angeles FC last night. They weren’t really expected to give LAFC, who have started off the season brilliantly, all too many problems.
Then, as reported by LA Times, Hwang came along
Despite giving up most of the possession and attempting less shots than their opposition, Vancouver were able to upset the established order with Hwang In-beom scoring a lovely goal in the 27th minute to give his team all three points. They had to rise out some tough moments as Los Angeles came forward with some ferocity, but in the end, the spirit of the Canadians helped them to cross the finish line with all three points intact.
Keep the faith
That was Vancouver’s first win of the season, and to be honest, there aren’t all too many folks that expect them to make the playoffs his year – but it really doesn’t seem like that kind of thing matters to them. Sure, they’d like to do so, but it feels more like they’re trying to build something special for the future.
Someone like Hwang In-beom, who is going to keep running and keep fighting until the very last whistle, is exactly the kind of player they need right now. They should be trying to build their squad full of men like him, and with such a gruelling season ahead of them, they have to try and incorporate the emotion they put into the LA game into every other match they play.
It’s going to be easier said than done, but they’ve got the talent.