Toronto FC waited for a long time to formally announce the signing of new right back Steven Beitashour after he was acquired in a trade from the Vancouver Whitecaps. In exchange for Beitashour, Toronto FC have traded their second round pick, 27th overall, to the Whitecaps.
One of the top priorities for incoming Toronto FC President Bill Manning was to push to improve the defence. Perhaps Bezbatchenko took Manning's order that he "Beitashour up the D" too literally (Thanks, I'm here all week).
"The right back position is one we struggled to fill at times this past season due to injury and available personnel and Steven more than fills that void. He is one of the top right backs in MLS," said Tim Bezbatchenko in a press release. "Steven brings valuable league and international experience to our defensive group. We are very happy that he wanted to come to Toronto FC and that we were able to finalize this deal."
Beitashour's presence with a healthy Mark Bloom presents a huge upgrade at RB going into the 2016 campaign. It means we're less likely to see left-footed LBs, attacking wingers, offensively challenged CBs and versatile utility players fill the position for the entirety of the season.
He is a player with plenty of MLS experience, having made 145 appearances with 2 goals and 24 assists between time spent with the Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes. According to a Toronto FC press release 24 assists is more than any other defender has had in the last five years.
In the trade Toronto FC also acquired Beitashour's contract, which according to the MLS player's union is $197,166.67 in guaranteed compensation. This isn't cheap for a Major League Soccer fullback, as has been pointed out, but is likely worth it for one of the best fullback's in the league.
The player, for his part, is excited to be joining Toronto FC, especially after what he saw from the club last season.
"Toronto FC is a club that definitely caused teams around MLS to take notice last season and I'm looking forward to the chance to help take the club to the next level," he said in a press release. "I'm excited to once again play alongside Justin Morrow and looking forward to this new challenge."
We asked SB Nation's Vancouver Whitecap's blog Eighty Six Forever to give us a quick scouting report on what this player will bring to Toronto FC.
Steven Beitashour Scouting Report from Eight Six Forever's Jon Szekeres
When Steven Beitashour joined the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2014, he helped stabilize a backline that had just lost all-world defender YP Lee to retirement.The all-star right back had a very good first season with Vancouver, establishing himself as a solid defender that could move the ball up the pitch with ease. While many feared the Whitecaps would have a hard time replacing Lee and his stellar all around game, Beitashour proved himself to be a more than capable jack-of-all-trades.
2015 was a bit of a different story. While Beitashour still equalled his 2014 total of 27 starts, he had large portions of the season where he struggled. He looked slower. However, at just 28 years old, I'd he's a prime candidate for a bounceback season.
Long Story Short:
What can you expect from Beta? He's a great locker room player, a smart, heads up defender with a 2012 all-star appearance on his resume. A defender that's great at moving the ball up the pitch, Beitashour contributed eight assists over his two year stint with the Whitecaps. As long as he improves on 2015, not regresses further, TFC should be very happy to have him.