Raves

Raves: Sébastien Le Toux

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Editor’s note: In Philadelphia, we’re all familiar with rants about sports. So once a year, PSP’s writers take several days to just flat out rave about players. They may not be the best players, but they’re players we like. Here’s another one in our Raves series.

Sébastien Le Toux holds a special place in the hearts of many Union fans. He was the Union’s first scorer. Their first star. He was the first and, for a long time, the only Union player whose name I wanted to wear on a jersey. His effort and desire to please—more than his goals ever did—epitomized everything that was good about our new team. He worked hard, loved playing in Philly, and fans loved him back.

When he was presented with what seemed from the outside like a golden opportunity to step up a level and play for Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League, most were sad to see him go, but who could deny a player like him that chance? And when he chose Philly over Bolton and said he never wanted to leave? You loved him even more.

And then he was gone.

Trading Le Toux will likely go down as the point where Peter Nowak’s tenure as Union manager began its crazy slide. It is probably the worst decision Nowak ever made as manager. It still boggles the mind that a coach would ship a team’s best and most popular player out of town for no good reason.

We all know the fairy tale ending, of course. After struggling in the wildernesses of Vancouver and New York, Le Toux made a triumphant return to his spiritual home of Philadelphia. Cue the fanfare.

Questions surfaced, however. Would he mesh with Jack McInerney and new arrival Conor Casey? What about those struggles out on the wing? There was that second-season goal drought, too, and he never did take a very good set piece. Was his return anything more than great PR?

This season has proved that not only was it great PR, but Le Toux’s return was also a fantastic sporting acquisition. Always a worker, Le Toux had refined his set piece delivery and improved his service from the run of play. While he spent less time up top, sharing those duties with McInerney and Casey, he became an assist machine, producing 12 goals from his passes, crosses, and free kicks, tying him for the MLS lead with much-lauded Designated Player Diego Valeri, of Portland. And let’s not forget the fantastic goal he scored on his second Philly debut.

Le Toux has tailed off in his production of late, much like the entire Union team. And he can no longer be called the Union’s best player. That accolade probably belongs to one of his younger teammates, like Amobi Okugo or McInerney.

But no one works harder for the shirt. No one bleeds blue and gold like he does. And no one wants to play in Philly more than him. Winning here, performing here, is all Le Toux cares about.

If that’s not worth celebrating, then nothing is.

10 Comments

  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Frenchy is a star and will always be THE MAN for the Union.

  2. Vive Sébastien!

  3. I have been impressed with the man’s willingness to do ANYTHING that is asked of him. “Sebastien, play forward, play off the ball, play wing, and now even play fullback. Score, assist, communicate the ball upfield, and now fill in where you started in MLS, on the back line.” Versatility and the flexibility to do what is asked of him, regardless of whether there seems to be a plan. Thanks, and a speedy recovery to you.

    • Lets not forget play even though you are injured and will probably make it worse if you hit the field.

    • Also… “Sebastien, make phone calls to season ticket holders and ask them to come back.” Not to mention he is one of the most willing players to offer autographs and stay late with the kids. He’s just as much a star off the field as on.

  4. You can count that when the Team opens a hall of fame in 20 years he will be in the initial class

    • I almost put something like that in the piece, because I agree. He’s got to be the first entry in the Union HoF, whenever it appears.

  5. Southside Johnny says:

    I wasn’t keen on his return because I didn’t think we needed him…wrong…every team needs a Sebastien LeToux. No matter how he plays, you have to like and respect him.

  6. Great Player. Great Man.

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