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Opta Spotlight: Will Steven Beitashour be able to fill Lee Young-Pyo's shoes in Vancouver?

Steven Beitashour - Opta Spotlight

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

With Y.P. Lee’s retirement after the 2013 season, Vancouver had a big question mark at right back. As of Monday, they probably found their answer.

Over the past two seasons, Lee played over 93 percent of the available minutes at right back for the 'Caps, so there was little to fall back on in-house heading into the season. The acquisition of Steven Beitashour -- and All-Star and Iranian international -- from San Jose should plug the hole Lee left behind after his retirement.

Problem mostly solved. But there's a new question: Will Beitashour be able to play the same way he did in San Jose?

Although Beitashour and Lee play the same position, they did so very differently. Under Frank Yallop and Mark Watson, Beitashour was asked to play a direct style, going up and down the flanks at a higher rate than most fullbacks. With Martin Rennie in charge, Lee was used more to retain possession and be safe on the defensive end.

These two different styles are reflected (roughly, mind you -- as always there's a ton at play in here and no one stat is definitive) in the passing accuracy percentages the two players put up over the past two seasons.

PLAYER PASSING ACCURACY PASSING ACCURACY, OPPONENT'S HALF
Beitashour 76.8% 69.8%
Lee 81.7% 77.2%

Beitashour (and the Quakes) played high-risk, high-reward soccer. The 'Caps were more conservative, and the numbers spell that out.

Of course, Beitashour has been one of the best right backs in the league over the past couple of seasons with his attacking, sometimes risky, style of play. Will this continue in Vancouver or will he be asked to play more like predecessor?

We have yet to see Carl Robinson coach a game in MLS, so it's yet another question in an offseason full of them in Vancouver.