Union trade All-Star Le Toux to Vancouver for allocation

Sébastien Le Toux

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In one of the most surprising moves of the offseason, All-Star forward Sébastien Le Toux was traded by the Philadelphia Union to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday in exchange for allocation money.

“Just got traded to Vancouver! Saddest day for me in my Philadelphia Union story,” Le Toux tweeted earlier Tuesday. “Still can't believe it.”

“While this decision wasn't easy, we are confident that the allocation money we receive will provide the flexibility for us to compile the best possible roster for 2012 and beyond,” Union manager Peter Nowak said in a statement.

The Frenchman, a fan favorite at PPL Park, not only scored double-digit goals the last two years, but also played every minute of every regular-season match for the Union in 2011.

But the 28-year-old Le Toux is also entering the final year of his MLS contract in 2012 and was recently on an unsuccessful trial at English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers.

His addition adds even more firepower to a crowded Whitecaps frontline that already features Eric Hassli, Camilo Sanvezzo, Omar Salgado, No. 2 overall SuperDraft selection Darren Mattocks and the anticipated signing of Maltese center forward Etienne Barbara.

"Sébastien is a proven goal scorer and playmaker in Major League Soccer,” Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie said in a team statement. “He is a durable, fit and speedy attacker, who is capable of playing either up front or wide in midfield. We’re delighted to bring Sébastien back to the Pacific Northwest."

Le Toux was the first MLS signing for the expansion Seattle Sounders in 2009 but was selected by the Union in the Expansion Draft at the end of that season. His 14 goals and 11 assists with the Union in 2010 made him an MVP candidate, an All-Star and Best XI selection. He followed up that 2010 campaign with 11 goals and nine assists last year.

"We feel that in the best interest of our club these decisions need to be made for our short and long-term benefit," said Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz in a club release. "We believe the moves we have made and continue to make improve our roster and give us a better chance to advance past the [MLS Cup] semifinals.”