Sebastien Le Toux stays perfect from spot, Philadelphia Union earn crucial point against Chicago Fire
Just one week ago, Sean Johnson made a terrific save on a penalty kick attempt in the final minutes to preserve a 1-0 shutout win for the Chicago Fire.
On Saturday, the goalkeeper was put in a nearly identical situation … but this time failed to come up with the save.
The reason? Sebastien Le Toux was the one taking the penalty kick.
Continuing a remarkable streak, Le Toux buried a stoppage-time PK to help the Philadelphia Union salvage a 1-1 draw with the host Fire, improving to 12-for-12 from the spot in his Union career.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Le Toux said. “I was very tired, and I just asked all the good energy to help me put the ball into the net. I got a good answer, so I’m lucky. Sean is a great goalkeeper. I know he can save it, so I tried to hit it hard to one side. Luckily it went in for us.”
There’s been nothing lucky about Le Toux’s penalty kick prowess. In Wednesday’s 3-1 win over the Red Bulls, he buried one high and to the right, before deciding to go low and to the left against the Fire. In both cases, the goalkeeper guessed the right direction but couldn’t do enough to stop it.
What may have been lucky for the Union was the call that led to the penalty kick as the Fire’s Gonzalo Seagres was whistled for a hand ball in the box on a Le Toux shot while turned to the side and with his arms down.
“I think we created enough chances to get a result tonight,” Union interim manager Jim Curtin said. “It took until the 89th minute and we got fortunate on the penalty kick call but we’ll take it.”
Le Toux didn’t quite see it the same way.
“I mean, I was trying to hit it on target and the ball hit his hand,” the Frenchman said. “The first reaction is to yell at the referee about the handball. And he saw it, so that’s why he called the PK.”
Whether or not the Union were fortunate, they will gladly skip town with the point, especially after playing their third game in eight days without the services of injured playmaker Cristian Maidana.
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Unbeaten in their last three, the Union now have two full weeks off from league play before trying to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
“Any time you get a goal in the 89th minute, you’re happy with that and you take the point and you move on,” Curtin said. “I’m disappointed we gave up a goal because in the run of play we didn’t give up a whole lot of chances. We were organized and we were created enough to score ourselves.
“But I’m proud of our guys. We fought hard. It was our third game in a week, and it was a good result on the road.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org