As the intensity of the Eastern Conference playoff race heats up with each passing match, so too does Sebastien Le Toux.
Le Toux struck yet again on Friday, equalizing in the 63rd minute of a 1-1 draw vs. Sporting Kansas City just seven minutes after Omar Bravo opened the scoring.
The 27-year-old – who was quick to credit teammate Michael Farfan for a sublime assist – has scored Philadelphia’s last four goals, each helping his side earn coveted points as the regular season barrels towards it's end.
“My confidence is good,” Le Toux said after Friday’s match. “It’s nice for me to get seven goals in seven games, and it’s good for my team, but right now my own goals are not as important. It’s good to get a point tonight and it’s what we needed and we are happy with that.”
After the Union’s 22nd match of the season, Le Toux – who broke out in a big way with 14 and 11 assists goals in 2010 – was stuck on just one goal, an especially frustrating total given the number of tantalizing near misses.
In seven games since, the Frenchman has tallied seven goals, bringing his season total to a club-leading eight. Only three MLS players – Dwayne De Rosario, Brad Davis and Mauro Rosales – have more combined goals and assists than Le Toux. Dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, no MLS player has more combined goals and assists. Landon Donovan and De Rosario are tied for second with 38 apiece.
Le Toux remained a vital cog for Philadelphia even when he wasn’t scoring, setting up his teammates, pressuring defenses to distribute hastily, and setting the bar with a work-rate that just may be unmatched in MLS.
Still, the Union needed their 2010 Best XI member to convert his chances. It's safe to say that's no longer an issue; Le Toux is nothing short of the hottest striker in the league.
Dealing with a rash of injuries, Philadelphia will continue to rely on their first superstar when they play host to D.C. United on Thursday in the second-to-last regular season home game of the 2011 campaign.
Coming off a road draw against an East contender can only help the club’s demeanor heading into another pivotal contest.
“Going somewhere and allowing a goal isn’t very good for our confidence, but we have some character,” Le Toux said of Friday’s comeback result. “The guys that came in in the second half did a great job and we evened it. We showed character and that’s good to see.”