CHESTER, Pa. – It should have been a perfect night for Sebastien Le Toux.
Instead, after scoring two goals to continue his hot streak and help the Philadelphia Union pick up a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact on Saturday that put them into playoff position, Le Toux hobbled off the field with a left ankle injury that left Philly interim manager Jim Curtin fuming.
The reason for Curtin’s annoyance? Le Toux was kicked by Montreal Impact defender Krzysztof Krol at the very end of what he felt was a very long stoppage time.
“I was very angry with the fact that time went a little longer, and that’s when he gets kicked,” Curtin said. “We won’t speculate but [the injury] is not great.”
Union fans shouldn’t necessarily panic, though. While icing his left ankle in the locker room, Le Toux was far more optimistic about the injury, which immediately healed better than he thought.
The Frenchman even thought he could be available for Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal game vs. FC Dallas.
“I hope it’s just a big bruise and I’ll be able to [regenerate] tomorrow and play Tuesday,” Le Toux said. “I was very hurt when I was kicked. I didn’t have any feeling for the next three minutes and I was a little afraid of something bad. But right now it feels better. I hope it’s just a big bruise tomorrow.”
After Saturday’s performance, the Union won’t want to search for a replacement for Le Toux. With his brace, the Frenchman now has 10 goals on the season with seven coming in the last two months – a hot streak he credits largely to Curtin, who took the reins from former manager John Hackworth in early June.
“Since Jim took over, he told me exactly what he wants me to do on this team and my position on the field,” said Le Toux, who has been deployed more as a forward than a winger during his recent run of good form. “I’m not kind of in a no-man’s land not knowing what position he wants me to play.”
Le Toux’s first goal came from a play he said he’s been working on with goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who quickly booted a goal kick down the middle of the field where Le Toux jostled for position with a couple of defenders and took advantage of a poor backpass to give the Union an early 1-0 lead.
“He played the greatest ball he could right down the middle and luckily there was not good communication between the two defenders,” Le Toux said. “I’m glad the hustle paid off and I could score a goal like this.”
His second goal surprised him even more because he used his left foot to make something out of nothing and beat Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
“I never really shoot with my left because it’s not really as strong,” Le Toux said. “I was just lucky the ‘keeper was masked. He didn’t really see the shot.
“I don’t know, I’m just lucky against Perkins,” he added. “I scored my hat trick against him [vs. DC United in 2010]. It’s a lucky goalkeeper for me. I like to play against him.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.