There has been a lot of chatter among Union fans lately about forward Sébastien Le Toux returning to Philadelphia. It has come about in part because of the Union’s well-documented scoring woes, and in part because Le Toux is once again unsettled with his MLS team.
(If you’re keeping track, it’s now four teams where that has happened in some form: Seattle, Philadelphia, Vancouver and New York.)
The matter was taken to an entirely new level on Saturday afternoon when Le Toux arrived at PPL Park. When he walked out onto the field for pregame warmups, he got a standing ovation from Union fans and a handshake from John Hackworth. That sort of treatment for an opposing player doesn’t happen very often in Philadelphia.
After the game, I spoke with Le Toux for a few minutes about what his future might hold.
What was it like for you to experience that reception from Union fans before the game?
It was great. I’m always happy to come back here no matter what. It’s sweeter to be clapped [for] by the fans, and asked to come back here and play again for the Union. I can just say thanks to them for what they did.
Did you exchange any words with John Hackworth when you shook hands with him before the game?
No, he just wished me good luck for the playoffs and that’s it. It is good for him to be in that position [as manager] now. I’m very happy for him that he’s the coach and I hope for the best for him next year as he tries to rebuild the team.
When your season ends, whenever that may be, what do you envision as the timeline being for what comes next?
I don’t know. I think for me it will probably be that in the month of December I will decide what I want to do. The MLS final is December 1st and I hope we are going to get there. I will go on vacation on the 2nd, and after that I think it will be a talk with my agent to see what team wants me playing for them.
It can be here, it can be in Europe.
By here, you mean MLS?
Yes, I mean MLS. Of course Philadelphia is one of the teams I like the most. It’s not a secret for anybody. So I’m just going to see what happens. I’m at the end of my contract so I can decide where I want to be, not like this year where I was going right and left and not playing for a team where I had decided to be.
You mentioned a moment ago that you have an agent. That hasn’t always been the case. When did things change?
I didn’t have an agent because I didn’t feel the need to get one when I was under contract. In my last contract I was traded and had a chance to go to Europe. A club contacted me and told me it would be good to have [an agent]. My agent is my ex-teammate Stefani Miglioranzi.
Last year he became an agent. I hired him this year after I got traded to Vancouver. Bolton, you know the story – Nowak sent me there saying it would be good for me and it was not even a tryout. We’ll see. Right now I’m just happy we are in third place and to see what is going to happen for us.
Next year is another story. We’ll have plenty of time to sit down and see for me what the best option is. I will follow what I want to do the most and play for the team where I want to be. That’s what’s most important for me.
I also spoke Saturday with a few Union players whose futures with the team might be in question as John Hackworth builds in the offseason. I don't quite have enough material for a separate post, so I figured I'd put their remarks here.
Brian Carroll: "I expect to be playing for a number of years longer, and it's my hope and wish that it will be here with the core group of guys, improving and getting better for next season and beyond. I expect to be here next year."
Gabriel Gómez (through an interpreter): "I do not know about my future with this team, but I do not think I will continue. I have option years [in my contract] but I do not know if the team will take them. I am waiting for a meeting [with the coaching staff] this week to see what will happen in my future."
Roger Torres (through an interpreter): I feel sad because the season was uncomfortable. I always thank the fans for supporting us though we have not responded in the same way. But that is soccer. We have to move past it, put our heads up and go on to next year ... I want to stay with this team – the fans support me and I want to give something back to them.