Good Monday morning, Caps fans. Looks like Vancouver got a wee bit of snow over the weekend, which is tough for me to grapple with because here where I live in Pennsylvania it was 65 degrees this weekend. Yup, 65 degrees. We’re all gonna die.
But before that happens, an interview dropped over the weekend with In-Beom Hwang which was, shall we say, a little bit of an In-Beomshell.
Okay, it wasn’t that explosive, I just wanted to make the pun. But in his sitdown with K League United, In-Beom was frank about his desire to get to Europe ASAP.
Is this a shock? Nope. Given that In-Beom was a whisker (and some questionable agent choices) away from going to Europe last summer, it is hardly a shock that he wants to get to a bigger league as quickly as possible. He specifically references the Bundesliga, which has groomed many elite players from Asia and where he almost signed last go-around, as his preferred destination.
The good news for Caps fans? In-Beom seems committed to the project in the meantime, saying he isn’t happy with being the “worst team in the league.” He specifically referenced the travel component as being onerous, which makes sense for a player who came to the Caps already having played what was basically a full season in Korea.
“I didn’t play so well in some games. Of course, sometimes I played very well in some games but I know that I could do a better job as a DP (Designated Player). Next season, if I stay in Vancouver for half a year or one year I want to do much better than last season - it was very tough for me.”
Doesn’t sound like a guy looking to phone it in while he looks for a European move. In fact, In-Beom’s motivation to head to Europe is probably the perfect motivation for a guy who even admits that he didn’t turn in a performance last season which would probably entice suitors in Germany or Spain. Though it is worth noting that In-Beom says he is happy to go “step by step” in his European adventure, perhaps going to Belgium or Scotland first.
This is basically the deal with the devil the Caps made in signing In-Beom—this was never going to be a long term endeavor. And given that the Caps are pushing the rest of the league to restructure the DP system to prioritize these types of deals, it seems like they’re okay with that. It just becomes a race against time to see if they can win something before Hwang must sadly depart us for greener pastures. For now, I respect his professionalism and am optimistic he can turn his offseason of strong national team performances (and some rest) into a better MLS season.
Best of the Rest
Alphonso Davies has continued his hot season, nabbing Bayern’s player of the month award for December. He also scored a banger in a friendly against Nuremberg last week:
Efrain Juarez will be an assistant at NYCFC after retiring as a player, a twist I did not see coming
Our SB Nation friends at Sounder at Heart have a nice series going on the collective bargaining talks. Worth reading, as the negotiations are getting into crunch time