In the latest sign of MLS's increasingly global character, history could be made in MLS when the Vancouver Whitecaps host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, TSN1 in Canada).
If Kim Kee-Hee and Inbeom Hwang both play, it will be the first time in league history that two South Koreans have lined up opposite each other in an MLS match. Both players have played every minute of their clubs' first three matches to start the season.
Kim joined the Sounders just ahead of last season and immediately became an integral part to the team that finished second in the Western Conference, making 29 appearances. Hwang was acquired by the 'Caps this winter as a Young Designated Player and had suitors across the globe for his services.
Kim and Hwang are the third and fourth South Koreans to ever feature in MLS, following Hong Myung-Bo (LA Galaxy 2003-04) and Lee Young-Pyo (Whitecaps 2012-13).
Both players arrived in MLS under unique circumstances. Kim was a teammate of former Sounders star Obafemi Martins, who helped pave the way for Kim's move.
“I played with Obafemi Martins in China and he put in a lot of good words for Seattle,” Kim said in 2018. “He talked a lot about a lot of fans in Seattle. So that’s one thing that made me come here.”
Hwang, meanwhile, was drawing interest across the globe, but head coach Marc Dos Santos was determined to get his man.
"As soon as I agreed with Vancouver, one of the first players that I spoke about was Inbeom," Dos Santos said in February. "Just because of the quality he has as a player, the technical ability, and the decision-making he has on the field fitting the way of how I see the game being played."
Hwang was called into South Korea's latest squad and made his 12th appearance for the senior national team, while Kee-Hee has accrued 21 caps for his country, though hasn't featured since 2017.