CHESTER, Pa. -- Sebastien Le Toux has endured a lot of losing with the Philadelphia Union, and the frustrating 2015 season that concluded Sunday is just the latest example.
But the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, goals and assists remains as committed as ever to the club.
He showed that by scoring the only goal in Philadelphia's season-ending 1-0 victory over Orlando City, chatting with fans at PPL Park long after the final whistle, and making strong comments about his future after Sunday’s season finale.
“I just want to play here,” the 31-year-old French winger said. “I love to play in Philadelphia. Even in knowing that we are not winning a lot, I really care about this team and this franchise. I have one more option [year] and I want to finish my career here. And I can play a long, long time.”
Le Toux certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing down with age, at least not physically. As is usually the case, the Frenchman never tired and covered a lot of ground to get behind the Orlando defense and make it hard on a Lions team that needed a blowout win to have any shot at making the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
And when Le Toux drew a foul in the 18-yard box in the 40th minute, there was no doubt he would take the ensuing spot kick. Le Toux has never missed a penalty in his Union career, burying his 13th attempt on Sunday to send the Union into the offseason with a victory and help snap Orlando’s five-game winning streak.
“It’s great,” Le Toux said. “I’m very happy. I’m always lucky on my PKs. I work on it a little bit. I’m confident. I just hope I will keep a perfect streak for the rest of my career.”
Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin gave a positive outlook about the Union original even as he prepares to retool the roster after a 10-17-7 season.
“Fitness-wise is never a question. He’ll be able to play until he’s 35-, 36-years old, no problem, at least, just because he takes such good care of himself,” Curtin said. “He’s a guy that I still would love to have in the Union’s plans. He’s been good for the club. He’s served the club well. He has a contract that’s up, and we’ll make the right decision in that regard.”
For now, Le Toux -- who finished with eight goals in league play, as well as crucial tallies in both the US Open Cup semifinals and final -- is excited to get some time away in the offseason and go on a honeymoon with his wife, who he married close to the start of the 2015 season.
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But as the Union’s roster begins to take shape, Le Toux hopes not too many changes are made. After all, having played for three different coaches and many different teammates through mostly losing seasons in Philadelphia, Le Toux knows just how detrimental an excessive amount of turnover can be.
“I hope from this year we are going to keep a good core of guys who can work well together,” Le Toux said. “We have a young team and it’s important to work with the same players. I think that maybe a little bit of the problem is we never kept the same team for a long time and it’s hard to get the results in the end.”
And even though he’s one of the older guys in the locker room, Le Toux hopes he can grow along with the younger players and help Philadelphia transform into a team that finally becomes a consistent fixture in the playoffs.
“People say in soccer that after 30, you are done. I don’t think so,” Le Toux said. “I think I’ve got the same legs as when I was 25.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com.