Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Inbeom Hwang continued his impressive run with South Korea on Wednesday, netting the game-winner in a 1-0 win over Japan in the East Asian Football Federation E-1 championship match.
The go-ahead strike came in the 28th minute, as Hwang gathered the ball centrally from 20 yards out and curled home with his left foot to the near post. It was his second goal of the tournament, after he also scored last week in a 2-0 victory over Hong Kong.
The win over Japan gave the Taegeuk Warriors their third straight EAFF E-1 title and record fifth overall. They’ve now qualified for the AFF–EAFF Champions Trophy, with their opponent from the AFF Championship still pending. Historically, that tournament has been won by Thailand or Vietnam.
Despite the Whitecaps not making the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, Hwang has clearly been keeping sharp for his country.
The 23-year-old Designated Player is aiming to build off his inaugural MLS season. Last year, Hwang had three goals and five assists through 34 matches, and was a true bright spot during a down year under new head coach Marc Dos Santos.