CHESTER, Pa. – Just call Sebastien Le Toux “Mr. US Open Cup.”
On Tuesday in the US Open Cup quarterfinals, the Frenchman scored his 14th all-time USOC goal to lead the Philadelphia Union to a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution, setting the scoring record for the modern era of the tournament (1995-present).
And leave it to Le Toux – the Union’s all-time leading scorer – to think his goal total should actually be higher.
“I even thought before that I scored more than the number that was said,” the Frenchman said after the game. “I think I scored more, so I think you should check your stats, guys.”
Upon further review, the number is in fact correct but only because the Open Cup goal Le Toux scored against the Red Bulls in 2010 isn't counted because it came in a qualifying game.
Still, his record is an impressive one and shows just how dominant he was while with the Seattle Sounders when they were still a USL team.
Le Toux scored five goals in both the 2007 and 2008 tournaments to lead the Sounders to the semifinals, and then added another goal in 2009 to help the Sounders win the Open Cup title during their first year in MLS.
“It’s what made me known a little bit in Seattle,” Le Toux said. “We played well in the competition. It’s a competition you can play a lot of MLS teams, so it was motivating for the team to play in. That’s why I think I scored a few goals. The teams didn’t know me.”
People certainly now know Le Toux, who has seven goals and three assists in his last seven games in all competitions.
Three of those goals have come in the Union’s last two Open Cup games – wins over the New York Cosmos and New England – as Le Toux passed Jaime Moreno, David Bulow and Johny Meynongar (all of whom have 13 USOC goals) atop the tourney's modern scoring chart.
“That’s something special,” Union interim manager Jim Curtin said. “I saw that stat. For as big of an honor as that is, it was kind of kept quiet. I think I saw a little blurb last game against the Cosmos that he moved into a tie for it.”
Curtin admited that Tuesday’s goal will not go on Le Toux’s “highlight reel,” and he’s certainly correct. The goal itself was a simple free kick that squirted out of the hands of Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton and into the back of the net early in the second half.
But Le Toux was happy because it helped secure the 2-0 win for Philly – and a trip to the US Open Cup semifinals.
Now, he wants to win another USOC title.
“It was great to get the first trophy for Seattle, and I would love to get the first trophy for Philly,” Le Toux said. “It’s not an easy competition to win. I like to play in it. It’s nice – especially when you win a trophy at the end.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.