WAYNE, Pa. — For Sebastien Le Toux, the 2011 preseason began the same way the 2010 regular season ended: with him putting the ball into the back of the net.
But as the Philadelphia Union continue to prepare for what they hope will be a special ’11 campaign, they know they’ll need to rely on more than just their star Frenchman for scoring.
Or, as Union captain Danny Califf put it, “We need to get more goals from more guys.”
Le Toux – who scored the Union’s only goal in their preseason opener Sunday, a 1-1 draw with the U-17 US national team – had a season for the ages in 2010, finishing with 14 goals and 11 assists. His production, combined with the emergence of Rookie of the Year finalist Danny Mwanga (seven goals, four assists) was probably the single biggest story of the Union’s inaugural season.
But after Le Toux and Mwanga, who combined for 60 percent of the team’s goals, there was a serious scoring void. And of the four other players who scored multiple times, only Jack McInerney (three goals) and Michael Orozco Fiscal (two goals) remain with the club.
WATCH: Philly's goals in 2010
[inline_node:327913]“I think with what happened to me last year, now people know who I am,” Le Toux said. “I will need my teammates to do a great job and not just count on me. It’s nice to be on the field and try to give some tips to the young guys. From the experience I have now, I’ll try to help to make the best impact on this team.”
Like Le Toux, Mwanga is also trying to use the experience he gained last season to help nurture along some of the team’s rising talents.
“To me, it gives me motivation seeing guys like Jack [McInerney] and Zach Pfeffer coming and being in a spot where I was,” Mwanga said. “Last year, guys were telling me things to do, and now I’m in a position where I might tell them something as well.”
Of course, Le Toux and Mwanga will still likely make the Union’s engine purr in 2011. But it certainly won’t hurt to add some more horsepower, and McInerney and others are planning to help shoulder more of the scoring burden.
Besides, after Le Toux’s breakout campaign, opposing teams will almost certainly be game-planning to stop the Frenchman this season, right?
“I don’t know,” Le Toux said, with a knowing smile. “You should ask the other teams.
“I’m not really focused on that," he added. "I’m more focused on winning, how to help the team most. Of course, I’ll do my best to score goals, because if I score goals that means we win games."