Merci beaucoup Sebastien Le Toux

MLS: Montreal Impact at Philadelphia Union
Aug 9, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union forward Sebastien Le Toux (11) celebrates his goal during the second half of the match against the Montreal Impact at at PPL Park. The Philadelphia Union won the match 2-1. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night at 9:30 PM EST, The Philadelphia Union traded Sebastien Le Toux to the Colorado Rapids for Allocation money. This deal appeared happened real fast for Union fans, on a day that had previously been filled with the joy of welcoming US mens national team player Alejandro Bedoya. At 9:00 PM EST, there were rumblings of a outgoing Union player trade to Colorado. I’m sure many fans were thinking of players that seemed expendable, and the possible player or lump sum of money the Union would get in return. A half an hour later, the news hit; the Union traded Sebastien Le Toux to Colorado for allocation money. Business wise, this move makes a lot of sense; The Union free up $300K of Le Toux’s salary, and receive allocation money as well. From a fans point of view, this move means the departure of the their favorite player, and the most important player in clubs history. No matter how you look at the trade, it is time to say Merci beaucoup Sebastien Le Toux.

To properly say goodbye to someone who is so monumental this club is hard but we can do so by looking at Seba’s greatest moments at this club. Fair warning, there are a lot of great Seba moments over the years, and if your favorite is not included in this article I’m sorry! Here is a look back a Sebastian Le Toux’s Union career.

Unions first home game ever/first hat trick. 2010 
The Union’s first ever game was held at Lincoln Financial field; PPL Park, the soccer specific stadium in Chester was not completed yet. The Union played DC United, and the game was one that created a Union legend. In the first half the Union found a chance to score, a shot was blocked and fell to a Union player at the corner of the box a cross was sent into the middle box, and an on-rushing Sebastien Le Toux headed the ball into the net. Just before halftime,  now ESPN soccer analyst Javi Moreno played a through ball to a streaking Le Toux. He ran 20 yards, and hit a shot just outside of the box to the far corner of the net; it beat the keeper and Le Toux had a brace before halftime.

In the second half DC United found two goals to tie the game, but that all chanced in the 80th minute when the Union had a dangerous free kick just outside of DC’s box. Le Toux stood over the ball and had a great look at goal. Le Toux ran up and hit the ball past the wall and into the bottom left corner of the net. Sebastien Le Toux 3 DC United 2. Seba became a legend that night, and started a long Union career of scoring goals.

Unions first game at PPL Park. 2010
June 27th 2010, the Union had their first game at their soccer specific stadium. The Seattle Sounders, Sebastien Le Toux’s old team, came to town. The ex-Sounder made his old team pay. The Union were awarded a penalty, and Le Toux stepped up to take it. He had a slow run up and his body language suggested he was going to hit the ball to the bottom left corner. The keeper cheated that way, but was fooled. At the last second of his run up, Seba opened up his body and hit the ball into the top right corner of the net.

This goal will forever be a memorable one for Union fans. It was the first goal scored in the building fans call home, and it came from a beautiful PK by Seba. The frenchman’s legacy with the club was furthered even more by this goal and even more important goals in the years that followed!

Union’s first ever playoff goal. 2011
In 2011 the Union made their first and only playoff appearances. The played Houston Dynamo in the Eastern conference semi-finals. The Union ended up losing both legs of the series, but did score their first playoff goal during their home match. After getting scored on in the first five minutes of the game, the Union found some possession. Micheal Farfan found the ball just outside the box and chipped it over the Houston back line, and Seba was there to finish the play!

His finish gave the team life in the first leg, but unfortunately the Union conceded again in the game, and lost the second one to  crash out of the playoffs. Philadelphia has not made it back to the playoffs, so Seba’s sweet strike stands as the only MLS playoff goal in the teams history. The 2011 MLS All Star was now the face of the club after its first two years, then the unthinkable happened.

Union’s first ever All-star… that was traded. 2012
In one of the most stunning moves to happen in club history the Union traded Sebastien Le Toux to the Vancouver White Caps for allocation money. Seba didn’t want to leave, and it didn’t seem like he had much of a choice in the matter. There is no room for sentimentalism in sports, but Seba was the best Union player at the time. He was their leading scorer both years, and played every minute of the 2011 season so why did this happen?

The coach at the time, Peter Nowak, was indeed a crazy person. He thought the money gained from Le Toux would help the club more than Le Toux could on the field. The Union Had brought in former USA wunderkind Freddy Adu back to MLS at the end of 2011, and it looked like Nowak wanted to make the Union Adu’s team rather than Le Toux’s team. Le Toux spent some of 2012 season with Vancouver, and then was traded to New York Red Bull later that year. Le Toux let the Red Bulls know that at the end of the 2012 season he would like to be traded back to Philadelphia.

The Return. 2013

Surprisingly, the Red Bulls obliged the frenchman’s request. Seba returned to the Union before the 2013 season, and newly appointed head coach was thrilled that he returned. Hackworth an assistant under Nowak, and didn’t like what happened with the sending away of Seba. And with the unsuccessful 2012 season, Hackworth found himself in charge of the Union midway through that season.

CEO Nick Sakiewicz and coach John Hackworth made it a point to the fans to bring their leading goal scorer back to Philly. They did that, and the rest is history. While the Union didn’t make the playoffs in 2013, they showed their commitment to Seba’s work on and off the field for Philadelphia.

Open cup goal record. 2014
2014 was an up and down year for the Union. Half way through the year coach John Hackworth was fired and Jim Curtin rose up the ranks. The Union were in the playoff race, but thrived in the Open Cup under their new coach. The Union made it through to the final, where they cam up short to Seattle, but the U also helped Seba to accomplish a milestone in American soccer.

In the quarterfinals of the tournament The union beat New England 2-0 in the game. Sebastien Le Toux scored the second goal to put the game away. That goal gave him the modern scoring record; his 14th in the tournament. His goals in the tournament came with Seattle and with the Union. Seba relished the record and was happy that he made the record while being a member of the Union. Seba continued his scoring record in the 2015 Open Cup.

Open cup. 2015
Seba scored two huge goals for the union in the 2015 tournament. His first was in the semifinals against Chicago. The Union had some threatening possession around Chicago’s box in the last 20 minutes of the game. The ball bounced to Le Toux who took it to the middle of the box, and shot a hard left footed shot to the bottom right corner of the net. This goal was the only goal of the game and sent the Union to the Final.

In the final Seba opened the scoring. Vincent Nogueira was on the left sideline right at the midfield line. He hit a long looping ball to the right side towards an on-running Le Toux. The ball bounced twice and Le Toux reached it as the ball reached the box. He hit it first time past the keeper to open the scoring! The goal was beautiful but the result was not. The Union lost in PK’s, and for the second consecutive year at home. Seba has a knack for big goals and legendary numbers,  he kept that going earlier this year.

50th Union goal. 2016
On April 16th the Union played a game in Seattle. They were down 2-0 late in the second half. A long ball was played to CJ Sapong in Seattle’s box. He won a header and played it into the open space in the box. Seba came rushing into the box and hit it into the bottom left of the net. the Union lost by one but this goal gave Seba a milestone.

The goal was his fiftieth of his Union career. He scored it against his former team, and gave him fifty goal and fifty assists for his Union Career. Seba as a player gave his all to the Union on and off the field.

Seba had an amazing personality on and off the field. The fans loved him the community loved him and this organization loved him. The fans will always remember what he gave to them on the field and off it. He signed countless autographs for fans, and loved talking with fans whenever he could. The community loved him out reach. He would do anything; guest appearance’s on radio stations, tv stations, and restaurants. His personality made him fun to work with wherever he went. The Organization loved him. They brought him back in 2013. Even as they traded him to Colorado they loved him. Seba now has a chance to win a supporters shield and an MLS cup with Colorado the two trophies he’s not won in his American career.

Now is the time to wish Seba the best of luck from his Philly faithful. Good luck in Colorado Seba, and when you’re ready to hang up your cleats, please please please come sign with Philly for a day  to retire a member of the Union!      

Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports