CHESTER, Pa. – Before going to bed Friday night, Sébastien Le Toux visualized scoring a goal in his first game back with the Philadelphia Union.
Then he closed his eyes and dreamt about it.
Then it came true.
On Saturday against Sporting Kansas City, Le Toux enjoyed a memorable return to PPL Park, netting the first goal of the 2013 MLS season to put the Union ahead 1-0 in an eventual 3-1 loss. It was the 26th time Le Toux scored as a member of the Union but, after a frustrating 2012 season bouncing between Vancouver and New York, this was certainly one of the most special ones for him.
During Le Toux's celebration, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer drew a heart in the air in the direction of his friends and family.
“It was very special,” Le Toux told MLSsoccer.com. “It was nice for me to celebrate with them and tell them that I love them – especially my girlfriend, who had a tough year last year.”
As momentous as his goal was, Le Toux missed a golden opportunity to score again just five minutes later. Following terrific balls from Michael Farfan and Sheanon Williams, the Frenchman was alone on net but pushed his shot wide of the frame. A goal there would have put the Union up 2-0 and perhaps changed the course of the game.
Le Toux knows that.
“I think not about the goal but a little bit more about the one I missed – when Sheanon gave me a great ball and I hit it completely outside,” Le Toux said. “I’m very mad at myself. I’ll try to get better.”
Despite the blown opportunity, Le Toux showed why he was a fan favorite in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011, before getting unceremoniously shipped away prior to the 2012 season.
Playing as a lone striker for much of the game, Le Toux looked comfortable, exhibited his well-known work rate and was able to get behind the SKC defense on a couple of different occasions. And his first touch on the goal-scoring play was sublime.
“This is home for Seba,” center back Amobi Okugo said. “He feels at home here, and you play the best when you’re most comfortable. That’s why we brought Seba back. That’s why the fans are happy. And that’s why he scored.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.