CHESTER, Pa. – Sebastien Le Toux is the only player in Philadelphia Union history to be named an MLS Best XI performer, earning the accolade for his 14-goal, 11-assist season in 2010.
Four years later, Philly interim manager Jim Curtin believes Le Toux is on pace to grab the honor again.
“I’ll be the one to start the Best XI conversations for him,” Curtin said after Le Toux had the only assist in the Union’s 1-0 win over Toronto FC on Wednesday. “If you look statistically and you look at what he’s done, he’s hot right now. If he continues the form that he’s in, then he has to be in the discussion for Best XI of our league, which is probably the highest honor you can get. I think he’s playing that well.”
Based on his stats, Le Toux certainly has a strong case for the honor. The Frenchman currently has 11 goals – seven of which have come after Curtin took over on June 10 – to go along with six assists.
The only MLS players with a higher combined total of goals and assists are the Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry, the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, Sporting Kansas City’s Dom Dwyer, Seattle’s Obafemi Martins and D.C. United’s Fabian Espindola.
“Look at his stats right now,” Union defender Sheanon Williams said. “He’s been a huge part of the reason we’re climbing back in the [playoff race]. If you don’t consider him for MLS Best XI, you’d have to be crazy.”
Of course, the stats don’t even tell the whole story with Le Toux. While his assist on Conor Casey’s game-winning goal was certainly pretty, the speedy Frenchman’s best play Wednesday may have come in the 76th minute when he created a turnover, charged ahead for a breakaway and drew a straight red card on Ashtone Morgan.
The card not only helped the Union preserve the win against 10-man Toronto but it will also give Philly an extra edge for Saturday’s rematch against the Reds (2 pm ET, Univision Deportes) with Morgan now suspended.
“At the beginning, I really thought to finish my chance because I knew if I put my shoulder in front of [Morgan], it’s 1-v-1 with the ’keeper,” Le Toux said. “The only way to stop me was to foul me – and he did. He stopped me in stride and I went down and the ref made the right call to give him a red card.”
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While it’s heady plays like that one that are causing his coach and teammates to drum him up as one of the league’s top players, Le Toux, predictably, brushed aside any talk of personal accolades.
“I don’t really care,” he said. “I just want [our team] to be the best in MLS.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.