Union's Le Toux likes doing the dishes
Sebastian Le Toux plays a different role than the one he had in his first stint with the Union, which had to settle for a tie with Dallas FC on Saturday.
BEFORE THE emergence of Jack McInerney, midfielder Sebastien Le Toux was the face of professional soccer in Philadelphia.
The 29-year-old French native was selected by the Union on Nov. 25, 2009 in the MLS expansion draft after being left unprotected by the Seattle Sounders FC. Of the 10 players selected by the Union in that draft, Le Toux is the only one left.
While Le Toux's scoring numbers have experienced a slight decline over the years, he remains a vital member of Philadelphia's offensive attack. This season, Le Toux is tied for third on the club with three goals and leads both the Union and MLS with seven assists.
"Sometimes [Le Toux] is more of a pass-first guy," Union manager John Hackworth said. "He has been so good at providing the assists that I can't really fault him for not shooting as much."
In his first two seasons with the Union, Le Toux led the club in both goals and assists. This season, Le Toux is on pace to break his own franchise record of 11 assists in a season, set in 2010.
"I believe I think more about passing than scoring sometimes," Le Toux said. "I still have some work to do and I'm glad that I'm on top of that category now, but it's a long season. Most important for me is that we win games, not for me to be the league leader in assists."
When Le Toux was acquired, he was coming off a season in Seattle in which he scored just once in 28 games. Upon his arrival, Le Toux quickly captured the attention of Philadelphia's fan base as he scored a hat trick in the club's 3-2, home-opening victory over D.C. United.
Le Toux became Philadelphia's first All-Star selection in 2010 and finished the season with 14 goals and 11 assists in the club's inaugural season. Le Toux followed up his first season in Philadelphia with another impressive 2011 campaign in which he had 11 goals and nine assists to lead the Union to its first playoff appearance.
"Those 2 years were great and I have had a wonderful during my time here," Le Toux said. "I was sad to leave Seattle but it was a new start in Philadelphia and from the start I have really felt welcome and I really love to play here."
Despite leading Philadelphia in every offensive category in 2010 and '11, Le Toux was traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Jan. 31, 2012, for allocation money.
Just like he did in Philadelphia, Le Toux made a quick impression on Vancouver, scoring in his first game with the third club of his 4-year career. He played 19 games for the Whitecaps while scoring four goals and one assist before being traded to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for midfielder Dane Richards and allocation money.
To no surprise, Le Toux scored in his debut with the Red Bulls as well. It would be his only goal with New York in 14 games. On Dec. 6, 2012, Le Toux was traded back to Philadelphia for Josué Martinez and allocation money.
"Vancouver and New York were completely different and the mentalities there were different," Le Toux said. "It just feels normal to be in Philadelphia."
In his second stint in Philadelphia, Le Toux has enjoyed a successful season but understands that he is no longer the team's main option on offense. Forward Jack McInerney filled in the offensive void left by Le Toux last season, leading Philadelphia with eight goals in his third season with the club. In 17 games this season, McInerney leads the Union and is tied for the MLS lead with 10 goals.
"I think just because [Le Toux] has played forward before, he knows what I like and he knows what the other forwards like," McInerney said. "He knows how to put the ball in a good place for forwards to finish."
On Saturday, FC Dallas (8-3-6) was able to control both Le Toux and McInerney in a 2-2 draw at PPL Park. Union defender Amobi Okugo scored his third goal of the season in the 20th minute, but the Red Bulls responded with the equalizer as defender Walker Zimmerman notched his second goal of the season in the 24th minute.
It was not until the 87th minute that a ball off the head of Aaron Wheeler gave the Union the 2-1 lead. But FC Dallas; Blas Perez responded with a goal in 90th minute extra time to steal Philadelphia's eighth victory just seconds before the final whistle.
Le Toux and the Union (7-5-5) will be back in action on July 3 against Real Salt Lake (10-5-3) at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
"We have to make sure we get back on track against Real Salt Lake and we need to at minimum get one point against them," Le Toux said. "That's our goal right now."