The prodigal son has returned.
Okay, not really prodigal since Sebastien Le Toux has always publicly affirmed it was never his decision to leave in the first place, but the club’s all-time leading goalscorer returned to the Union fray late Thursday much to the delight – and minimal dismay – of Union fans across the social mediasphere.
On the eve of MLS’ re-entry draft, Le Toux became our big story. Our phones and emails at philadelphiaunion.com lit up like a Jerry Lewis telethon upon news that the 28-year-old Frenchman is returning to Philadelphia.
Yesterday, the bowels of PPL Park served as a war room with coaching staff and front office staff behind closed doors in preparation for an offseason that is sure to drop more jaws, but for now returning Le Toux to the site of where he’s captured the most MLS success to date was paramount.
“It feels great, this is probably one of the best days of my year right now,” Le Toux told philadelphiaunion.com. “I am very happy to get back with this team. I just want to the team to succeed and I love to play in front of these fans here. And yeah if everything goes well, I want to finish my career in Philadelphia.”
As far as the deal is concerned, the bite the club took wasn’t an enormous chunk. In addition to cash, forward Josue Martinez was sent to New York. In exchange for allocation money and a player that found it hard to latch on in Philadelphia, we got what one Twitter follower with the handle @stupidisntsexy dubbed “the heart of soccer in Philly.”
If true, we say that’s a fair deal …and we’ll take it.
Union manager John Hackworth says Le Toux’ “determination and heart are a perfect fit for the mentality of this team,” one also hopes along with both he also brings that scoring knack that saw him finish with 26 goals and 20 assists in two seasons wearing blue and gold. There will be a press conference tomorrow at 10 a.m. welcoming Le Toux back to the fray and the interesting thing will be to see what number he’ll have.
Since his departure in January, forward Jack McInerney took Le Toux’ trademark No. 9, and given McInerney isn’t a rookie anymore on this club, it’s going to take some coaxing to get Jack Mac to give it up.
A steak dinner, perhaps?
Better yet, hey Jack, we can show you some nice timepieces Movado just unveiled for Christmas that if you really want to get something sweet out of the deal.
We asked Le Toux, who laughed and said simply:
“I don’t know, we’ll have to discuss that one and see what happens.”
Just an FYI we will be live streaming tomorrow’s 10 a.m. press conference for Le Toux on philadelphiaunion.com. Also, our video department made this highlight reel of Le Toux during his first stint in Philly.
Funny how a year goes full circle; gone in January, back by December. It remains to be seen how Le Toux’ return will pan out and we won’t know until MLS First Kick on March 2, but if it was anything like before then 2013 just took a huge step forward.
“It was a great learning year for me getting to know different teammates, and different places in Vancouver and New York, both were to great franchises, said Le Toux. “Sometimes things were hard for me and it was tough. But it was a big deal for me to come back here, I feel like Philadelphia is home.”
Contact Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr