The South Korean is one of the players to keep an eye this season
In a bad (BAD) 2019 season of the Vancouver Whitecaps, one of the (very) few good news, was the level of In Beom Hwang. This center midfielder from South Korea came to the MLS for 1.5 million $. And he worth it.
Vancouver was swinging between a 1-4-1-4-1 and a 1-4-3-3. In both cases In Beom was in a central midfielder, not the defensive one. He had a DMC behind him how supported him to move forward, and someone who he helped during the build-up and defensive transitions.
His concentration and timing are remarkable. He knows where he has to be at the right time, defending or attacking. He owns a great skill to steal, control and pass the ball, even the set-pieces. His movements off the ball are the right ones, always open with the body positioning and attitude to receive the ball from his teammates. In Beom is the balance of the team, if no one is defending, he steps back, if the attacker needs help, he moves forward.
He shows a lot of concentration when the opponent has the ball, during transitions and build-up. He is not scared in the 1vs1 defensive situation, that means that he is not going to give space avoiding the dribble, he will try to steal the ball no matter what, and he has a good body positioning and fast movements to recover the ball in those situations. He sometimes shows leadership and tries to organize the defenders, pointing and directing.
He is aware of everyone’s positions on the field if the defensive midfielder goes forward to press an opponent, In Beom covers his back and moves back. If the fullback was caught going to attack, In Beom moves to the back to the wider area. He turns his head all the time, it is weird when he is not in the right position in the time. Even when his team has possession, and the ball is nowhere close to him, his position is according to prevent a counter-attack.
He is the kind of player who organizes the attack, always asking for the ball, getting close his teammates, very important player for the build-up, he shows himself as support to the center backs and defensive midfielder, with movements behind the first line of pressure. He has an oriented control to turn his body as soon as he received and beat the high pressure from the opponent. Also, he had moved between the CB, acting as the DM of the team, in that position he can make a long pass to the wider players.
The South Korean midfielder, has a great technique to pass with both feet, even a long pass. His stats in the passing department has to be seen from the team perspective: The Whitecaps were the 3rd team with less possession of the ball (44.9%) and mid-table in passes per game (376.48), % accurate (83.9) and 4th team with more long passes per game (44.59). That is not the best context for a positional player like In Beom that offers himself as an option for short passes. Even though he is above his team and leagues average in pass accuracy.
With his great vision of the game, and constantly turning his head, he tries to guide and direct the team off and on the ball, pointing the opponent that his teammate supposes to mark. He also tries to push up his team to pressure high. He shows really good concentration during the whole game, losing time and keeping possession when they are winning and playing quickly and forward when they are in a hurry. Sometimes he gets frustrated when he does not receive the ball and he was wide open, and he shows that with his body language, especially his hands.
He is a great delivery for corners and wider free kicks. Might not be the strongest shot, but has great accuracy delivering those ball from wider areas.