MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 31, 2012
(All times Eastern)
Vancouver (2-0-1) at Philadelphia (0-3-0), 4 p.m.
Chester, PA (Sports Network) - Sebastien Le Toux returns to PPL Park to face
the Philadelphia Union on Saturday for the first time since his January trade.
Le Toux had 25 goals and 20 assists over the last two seasons with the Union,
but was shipped to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a surprise move by Philadelphia.
While the Union (0-3-0) are off to a winless start, Le Toux scored less than 4
minutes into his debut to spark the Whitecaps (2-0-1) to an unbeaten start.
Le Toux has made the transition across North America with ease, and said this
week "I left my emotions there when I got traded."
"All the fans know that I respect them so it's just going to be fun seeing all
the faces that I saw during my two years," Le Toux added.
"You don't really think about what's around you, you think about the game and
the goals and that's what I will be thinking of. After the game, I will enjoy
it with my friends and family over there."
Vancouver has been the surprise of MLS so far this season with victories over
the Montreal Impact, 2-0, and Chivas USA, 1-0, and a draw at D.C. United, 0-0.
Although Le Toux has been a key addition on offense, Vancouver's not given up
a goal yet this season. The Whitecaps did not have back-to-back shutouts in
2011, its first season in the league.
"I don't think that you get too comfortable with it, but you're pleased that
the things you're working on are working," said Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie.
"I think it's important that we're all working on not giving up goals."
Vancouver is still more than a game away from matching Red Bull New York's MLS
record shutout streak to open a season, which stands at 421 minutes from 2007.
Rennie is pleased with the team's start to the season, even after the 0-0 draw
"There's lot of room for improvement, but when you're not connecting in all
those areas, you want to make sure you're hard to beat," Rennie said.
"Sometimes, when you're not doing those things, you lose a sucker punch at the
other end. Who knows? That point could end up being important for us in the
Philadelphia has struggled so far this season, losing to the Portland Timbers,
Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire in its first three matches.
Coach Peter Nowak rolled the dice with the Le Toux trade, and the offense has
still not come together at this point in the season.
The Union were without Freddy Adu and Sheanon Williams due to international
duty with the U.S. men's Under-23 national team, but the squad was eliminated
from Olympic qualifying early this week.
With Adu and Williams back, Philadelphia needs a positive result this week.
"It's never easy to look at the standings after the game, it's not easy for
the guys in the locker room, and it's not easy for the guys on the coaching
staff," said Nowak.
"That's our job to give them a little confidence. They are pushing very hard.
I can't say one bad thing about the effort."
03/30 18:28:12 ET