CHESTER, Pa. – Constructing a team from scratch is a difficult task. But for the Philadelphia Union coaches, it was made a little easier last November as they prepared for the 2009 Expansion Draft and noticed one specific player left unprotected: Sebastien Le Toux.
“When we saw Seba, we were like, ‘OK, that’s a no-brainer,’” Union assistant coach John Hackworth recalled recently.
Le Toux rewarded the expansion side for their trust with a brilliant 2010 season, finishing with a team-leading 14 goals and 11 assists while quickly becoming the face of the franchise.
On Tuesday, Le Toux was rewarded himself by being named to the MLS Best XI. He was the only Union member selected to the squad, which was voted on by media members and players.
[inline_node:319224]“It was a great season for me,” Le Toux said by phone, moments after the announcement was made. “I knew I could score for this team, more than I did in Seattle.”
Union fans got a first glimpse at Le Toux’s offensive talents when the Frenchman netted a hat trick in the franchise’s first-ever home game, a 3-2 win over D.C. United.
“That,” he admitted, “was surprising. But I knew I could do it.”
The star striker continued to deliver from there, while pleasing fans to no end with a tireless work ethic and a calm, upbeat demeanor. Le Toux, who does not have a single card in his MLS career, also recently received the Xbox 360 Individual Fair Play Award.
“Of course I get frustrated,” said Le Toux, adding he once picked up a card while playing in France. “Sometimes you go on a run and you can’t do anything to help the team. But you just try to keep focus. Frustration can’t really help my team.”
What does help the team is goals, and Le Toux was, more often than not, a part of those for Philadelphia. Amazingly, he played a role in 71.4 percent of the team’s goals, which is an MLS record.
“It’s a great feeling to score,” he said. “After you score one, you want the next one.”
Le Toux will have plenty of chances to score more next season. But before then, he will head to Toronto to take in this weekend’s MLS Cup and then return to France to see family and friends. Then, it’s back to work.
“Maybe I can have more goals or more assists next season,” Le Toux said. “I hope I can do better. But if I score less and the team wins more, I’d be happier with that.”