I am still processing the report from Soccer By Ives that the Union are preparing to sell leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux to English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, but here are my immediate thoughts.
It’s a bad time to be one of the most popular and recognizable players on a Philadelphia team (Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and now Le Toux). Sebastien embodied everything Philadelphia fans want from its athletes. He never stopped hustling. His work rate was off the charts. His tireless running was almost comical. He never quit on a ball, never stopped making runs, and never gave up on a 50/50 ball.
Oh yeah, and he also put up numbers. In two seasons with the expansion Union he scored 25 goals and recorded 20 assists. To put that in perspective, the Union has scored 79 goals over its two year history. Le Toux either scored or assisted on 45 of them – that’s 57% of their goals scored.
Although we do not yet know the details in terms of the money Bolton will send the Union it stands to be an incredible return on investment. Looking at this from a purely objective economic perspective selling Le Toux is good business. The Union acquired Le Toux from Seattle in the MLS Expansion Draft. Seattle left him unprotected, the Union identified and valued his talent, and now they stand to cash in -– big-time.
His 2011 base salary was $155,000, with guaranteed compensation of $179,000. He’s 28 years old and is coming off of consecutive All-Star seasons. This is about as textbook a buy low, sell high scenario you will ever see.
Drafting UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman makes a bit more sense now. With Hoffman, Le Toux, Danny Mwanga, Jack McInereny, and newly acquired Josue Martinez the Union had a glut of forwards. In light of Le Toux’s departure fans may expect Hoffman to step right in and produce. In my opinion, the onus should fall on Mwanga and Martinez. It’s time for former first overall pick Mwanga to produce like a first XI player.
Who is the face of the franchise now? It’s tough to say. Danny Califf and Faryd Mondragon are certainly candidates to fill that role. They are both veterans who likely would not be too affected by carrying that responsibility.
Finally, I cannot imagine a better fit between expansion team, city, and player than the Union, Philadelphia, and Sebastien Le Toux. He was the perfect person to draw fans into a new Philadelphia soccer franchise. I am sure all Union fans will look back fondly at the time he spent here. It’ll be odd not hearing fans at PPL Park bellow “LeTouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuux”.
Tres bien, Seba. Tres bien.