They were never good apart. The 2012 season showed us that, so it’s no surprise that Philadelphia and Sebastien Le Toux are looking to get back together.
Le Toux, after being made a contract offer by New York earlier today, has been sent back to the team for whom he excelled in 2010 and 2011, with Philadelphia sending allocation money and Josue Martínez to the Red Bulls.
It’s a great move for both teams. New York had no use for Le Toux, the chance they took on him in exchange for the to-depart Dane Richards failing to paying off. No big deal.
For Philadelphia, while the team hds attacking talents like Michael Farfan and Jack McInerney, they produced with the inconsistency of a squad that lacked a focal point – a group that was searching for something that might click instead of relying on something that would. Having scored 26 goals over his two seasons in Philly, Le Toux represents a chance to fill that void.
Last winter Le Toux was shipped west and was expected to lead a revamped Vancouver attack. He eventually fell victim to Martin Rennie’s tinkering and found himself shipped back to New York. There, Le Toux was a complementary player, with Hans Backe deploying him wide, up top , or not at all as the Red Bulls searched for the right combination.
Between his two 2012 stops, Le Toux combined for five goals in 34 appearances.
Based on opportunity alone, Le Toux should better that mark in 2013. If new coach John Hackworth didn’t intend to give him that chance, it’s hard to see Philadelphia justifying the acquisition.
The bigger questions are (a) whether Le Toux can produce, and (b) if he can mesh with the players who emerged in his absence: Farfan, McInerney and to a lesser extent Antoine Hoppenot and the returning Roger Torres.
It’s a risk worth taking for a Philadelphia franchise that took a major step back in 2013. After making the playoffs in their second season, the Union fell to eighth in the east in year three, parting ways with Peter Nowak early in the campaign.
Le Toux’s return harkens back to those happier times. Until the real games start, he’ll be a source of hope. Once the first whistle blows, though, he’ll have to start improving on his lost 2012.