Major League Soccer MVP Candidate: Sebastien Le Toux

Sebastien Le Toux may not literally be carrying the Union on his back, but he is deserving of some consideration in the MVP race. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Brotherly Game's Scott Kessler explains why Sebastien Le Toux is even more deserving of the MVP this year, despite having overall down numbers.

Sebastien Le Toux's 2011 season has almost been the exact opposite of his stellar 2010 one. The former Seattle Sounder went from fan favorite to dark horse for the 2010 MLS Most Valuable Player award after scoring 14 goals and assisting on 11 more (39 points), en route to contributing to more 70 percent of the Philadelphia Union's goals in their inaugural MLS season. Le Toux fell off at the end of the 2010 season, however, scoring only once from the run of play after the middle of September.

MLS MVP Race

With 22 SB Nation Soccer editors casting ballots, 11 different players received at least some consideration. This table shows how many 1st and 2nd place votes, how many total points (3 for 1st, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd) and how many ballots each player received. Click the player's name to go to their MVP profile:
1st 2nd total ballots
Brek Shea 5 4 28 13
Brad Davis 3 7 26 12
Mauro Rosales 3 4 21 11
Dwayne DeRosario 4 1 17 8
Fredy Montero 3 1 12 5
Landon Donovan 0 2 7 5
Thierry Henry 1 1 6 3
David Beckham 2 0 6 2
Osvaldo Alonso 1 1 5 2
Sebastien Le Toux 0 1 3 2
Omar Gonzalez 0 0 1 1

This season has brought another season of more 30 points (31 points so far), as Le Toux has scored 11 times and assisted his teammates on nine more goals. Le Toux has 10 goals in his last 11 games after going five months with only a single goal, which was from the penalty spot. The addition of Guatemalan international striker Carlos Ruiz during the 2011 MLS preseason shifted Le Toux from a striker role into more of an attacking midfielder role, and the change showed as Le Toux's assists stayed high, but his scoring was nonexistent.

Criticism was sent Le Toux's way for his apparent disappearance after such a sensational opening year with the Union, but mid-August, and the sale of Ruiz to a second-division team in Mexico, brought on a new life for the Frenchman. Starting with two penalty kick goals against FC Dallas to bring the Union back twice from deficits for a draw, Le Toux began to show his 2010 self. The Union are 3-2-6 since Le Tox found his scoring touch, a vital 15 points that helped them not only break out of a midseason slump, but also to pull into a position to finish atop the Eastern Conference in only their second season of existence.

Despite Le Toux's numbers being down from last year, and his overall importance statistically diminished, the Frenchman has become even more essential to the success of Philadelphia.

Scott Kessler is the managing editor for Union blog the Brotherly Game. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottDKessler.

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