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Storylines | Sang Bin Due For Bongi-esque Breakout?


A new season breeds new optimism, especially after the kind of performance the Loons brought to the pitch last Saturday night in Austin. For fans watching the action, that performance may have come as a bit of a surprise. Not because the Loon won, but because of how they won. It was unexpected. It was aggressive. And, it was refreshing, especially when considering that over previous seasons, Minnesota United generally relied on a more methodical, counter-attack-dependent strategy to create scoring opportunities. 

While that approach can certainly have its own time, the current MNUFC roster construction has felt more suited for a faster brand of futbol with young, speedy players ready to run and raise hell around the opponent’s goal. Whether he was able to put the ball in the net or not, Sang Bin Jeong made an impression with his play in his 2024 debut, flashing the speed we already knew about, while exuding far more confidence in his role on the pitch. And, while it’s only one match, Sang Bin fits the profile of a young talent that’s primed to evolve potential into fire power for a Loons team looking to find the net far more often. 

It’s a show we’ve seen before, where young talent gets a little more time to integrate themselves with the squad and add some polish to their overall game. That would be the Bongokhule Hlongwane show, circa 2023. If you remember, Bongi’s breakout season came on the heels of a 2022 season in which the South African regularly showed his potential through flashes of greatness when on the pitch, but often had similar moments in which he lacked ball control and ability to convert on quality scoring opportunities. Thankfully, Bongi developed all that potential into a dangerous, end-to-end player that could be a difference maker for the Black and Blue. 

Again, the win in Austin is too small of sample size to fully declare it, but I feel that Sang Bin looks to be on that same kind of trajectory in 2024. Plus, I believe that the Loons transition to a more aggressive, more offensively productive approach is custom-made for a player with Sang Bin’s abilities and intensity. And, in 2024, I can see a Bongi-esque breakout season brewing for the South Korean speedster.

Match Details

Minnesota United FC vs. Columbus Crew SC

Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota

03.02.2023 | MLS Matchday No. 3 | MLS Game 2

1:00 p.m. CT (Exclusively on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass)