Saturday’s Union-Montreal Impact game at PPL Park was notable because it featured the return of Carlos Valdes after a one-and-a-half-year loan spell in South America as well as the return of former Union star Jack McInerney (who was traded to Montreal earlier in the season).
But while those two duked it out, it was another one of their old teammates – Sebastien Le Toux – that stole the show. And he got a lot of help from Zac MacMath, who remained the starter in goal despite the recent signing of World Cup star Rais Mbolhi, who, according to Union interim manager Jim Curtin, “had some business to take care of away from the game.” (Yes, seriously.)
Early in the first half, MacMath quickly boomed a free kick down the middle of the field before most players could get back, leaving only Le Toux to deal with two defenders. Le Toux let the ball bounce, wedged himself between them and took advantage of a poor back-header to score on an open net and give the Union a 1-0 lead. Watch the play below:
Le Toux – who added a second-half goal to secure a 2-1 win for the Union – said afterwards it was a play he’s worked on with MacMath, kind of like a long bomb in football to try to take advantage of a backpedaling defender. (Despite being the quarterback on the play, MacMath did not credited with an assist, joking afterwards that “there’s been a few times where they should give me an assist, but apparently they don’t’ like me.”) The Frenchman also said the ankle injury he suffered late in the game was not as bad as he immediately thought – although it still angered Curtin because it happened so late in stoppage time.
Whether or not Le Toux will be available for Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal game against FC Dallas remains to be seen. But his two-goal effort Saturday still launched the Union into playoff position in the Eastern Conference (which is pretty crazy when you think about where they were when Curtin took over a couple of months ago).
And perhaps, best of all, Le Toux went into the stands to celebrate with fans after his first goal – including one very happy kid.