Lee a Key in Caps' Win

Y.P. Lee was a standup guy for the Whitecaps as they downed the Crew 2-1. - USA TODAY Sports

A good deal of the post-match talk after Saturday's Whitecaps - Crew match centered on Kenny Miller, and the resurgence we've seen in his game since last season - and rightfully so. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, god knows he took enough heat and flames in 2012, Miller has thus far proven that he has indeed found new life. But in studying the Opta data provided by Major League Soccer on their website, there's a pretty decent case for suggesting that Y. P. Lee deserves a healthy share of the praise.

I've wrestled wholly unsuccessfully this morning trying to paste in heatmap screenshots, so I'll simply provide the link to the Opta chalkboard available on the Major League Soccer website, so you can check things out for yourselves.

For the uninitiated, the Chalkboard function provides some rather useful match details on who did what, where on the pitch, and when.

The first thing that jumps out at me right away is the total number of game events that Lee was involved in: 152. By comparison the next-closest participant, Crew captain Federico Higuain, through whom the vast majority of the Columbus attack rolls through, came in at 131. Ever-industrious Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie was involved in 110 events.

Lee led the Caps with 69 successful passes, ahead of Alain Rochat (55), and Koffie (45), and finished third in passing percentage with 88%, behind only Brad Rusin and fellow CB Andy O'Brien, both of whom played the majority of their passes as relatively unchallenging outlet balls.

Looking at the heatmap (which you'll have to do by a mouseover on individual player names) you'll notice that Lee was definitely busy on the ball - compare both the density and range of his possession versus any of the other fullbacks in the match, and you'll see how much he was used on the overlap, and what a force he was for the blue and white up and down the right side. Check out some Lee's attacking handiwork here.

But Lee's stamp on the match wasn't just on the attack. Not by a long shot.

Take a look at his combined total of interceptions, blocked crosses, and recoveries: 21, with a full 13 of those being all-important recoveries. Again, these figures are absolutely gaudy among the fullbacks for both Vancouver and Columbus.

Daigo Kobayashi had the sublime wonder strike. Miller looked like a pit bull on a postie, while "Coffee and Coke" took care of the middle. But out wide, up and down the right side, it was Y. P. Lee taking care of business all afternoon for the Caps.

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