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Philadelphia Union to face Sébastien Le Toux as worst team in Major League Soccer

Just three games into the 2012 season, the Philadelphia Union face a matchup that may well define the rest of the year.

Philadelphia Union to face Sébastien Le Toux as worst team in Major League Soccer

Sébastien Le Toux will make his much-anticipated return to PPL Park on Saturday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP)
Sébastien Le Toux will make his much-anticipated return to PPL Park on Saturday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP)

Just three games into the 2012 season, the Philadelphia Union face a matchup that may well define the rest of the year.

After the New York Red Bulls' 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, Peter Nowak's squad is the worst in Major League Soccer: three losses and just two goals scored so far in the campaign.

Although Toronto FC is technically at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings on goal difference, the Reds have played one fewer game.

(Yes, I picked the Union to finish second in the conference in my preseason rankings. And yes, it looks pretty stupid right now.)

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Right on cue, an opponent is coming to PPL Park this Saturday whose roster includes three of the most popular players in Union history.

You already know that Sébastien Le Toux has quickly become a fixture in the Vancouver Whitecaps' starting lineup this year.

There's a pretty good chance that we'll see former Union left back Jordan Harvey playing for Vancouver lineup next weekend as well, since regular starter Alain Rochat sprained his left knee in Saturday's scoreless draw at home against D.C. United.

And if the quadriceps injury that kept Joe Cannon out of the Whitecaps' win at Chivas USA on March 17 flares up again, we could see Brad Knighton in Vancouver's net against the Union.

So the stage is set for a dramtic week on the Chester waterfront. To get things started, here's a transcript of an interview Le Toux gave last Friday to Vancouver radio announcer Pete Schaad, on Team 1410's Whitecaps FC Daily show.

Schaad asked Le Toux two questions about facing the Union. The first was about how Le Toux thinks the fans will react to his return to Philadelphia:

I heard some stuff, but I'm sure they are going to be as happy as I am going to be to see them. The two seasons I shared with them were wonderful, and I can just be thankful for the support they gave to me during two years.

So they are probably going to be happy to see me - maybe not to be wearing another jersey, but like I said to them, it's life and it's my career. I'm sure they'll respect that.

They know me as a player and who I am as a human, too, so they liked me for that. I like them too, because they always never gave up on us during two seasons. It's just a good moment for me to come back and play in front of them.

I'm very happy to play again at PPL Park, now with another jersey. All of what's going on around me will probably be shut out during the game, because I'm just going to be focused on winning the game for the Whitecaps.

But I will always be happy to come back to Philadelphia, not just to play soccer but to see people over there, and continue to have a good relationship with the people I met in Philly.

Le Toux was then asked to talk about the differences between Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie and Union manager Peter Nowak, especially with regards to communication styles.

Yes, they are totally different. For Martin Rennie, it's very important to communicate with a player, and be honest, and know exactly what you want and what he wants from you. Every time we take a decision, he comes to talk to you, and his door is always open.

It's a little bit different. I know, I lived with Peter Nowak, and it's sometimes how a manager is. I learned from it, and now I'm just 100 percent with the coaching staff here, and trying to do my best for them.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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