VANCOUVER, BC – A first for Major League Soccer could be in store when Vancouver Whitecaps FC host longtime Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC next Saturday at BC Place.
There have only been four Korean-born players in MLS dating back to the league’s inaugural season in 1996: Hong Myung-Bo, who played 40 matches for LA Galaxy in 2003 and 2004, Young-Pyo-Lee, who spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons with Vancouver before ending his illustrious 14-year playing career, Kim, who joined Seattle last season, and now Hwang.
This is the first season where there is overlap between Korean players in MLS. And they’ve both landed in the Pacific Northwest.
Hwang, for his part, has been one of Vancouver’s most influential players to start 2019, having played the full 90 minutes in all three matches thus far. The 22-year-old midfielder, who is currently away with South Korea on international duty, leads the team with eight chances created and nine shot attempts. He also recorded an assist in Vancouver’s season opener against Minnesota and was voted man of the match the following week against Real Salt Lake.
Kim has also played every minute thus far in 2019, helping the MLS-leading Sounders to a perfect 3W-0L-0D start and a +7 goal differential. The 29-year-old centre back has 23 caps with the South Korean national team, most recently featuring in October 2017.
Kickoff for the derby match on Saturday, March 30 is set for 7 p.m. PT at BC Place – tickets are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.