Just in case there was any doubt that Sebastien Le Toux was being traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps, the player himself announced the traded on Twitter Tuesday morning. The Philadelphia Union and Whitecaps confirmed the trade a short while later and noted that the Union received allocation money in the transaction.
Just got traded to Vancouver !Saddest day for me in my Philadelphia Union story.... Still can't believe it— Sebastien Le Toux (@SebastienLeToux) January 31, 2012
The move ends what can be safely classified as a two-year storybook run for Le Toux and the Union. As recently as 2008, Le Toux was a relatively unknown player in the USL. After a somewhat disappointing first year in MLS with the Seattle Sounders, he was left exposed in the 2010 expansion draft and taken by the Union.
In Philadelphia, Le Toux established himself as one of the league's best scorers and a MVP candidate. In two seasons, he accounted for 45 goals (25 goals, 20 assists) and contributed to 57 percent of the Union's scores. That was good enough to earn him a Premier League trial with Bolton. But various reports have suggested he cut the trial short himself in order to return to MLS. The Union, apparently, had other plans and opted to trade Le Toux's rights instead.
That he's in Vancouver is no small surprise either. If there was one position the Whitecaps seemed to be set at, it was forward. In addition to Designated Player Eric Hassli and former No. 1 overall SuperDraft pick Omar Salgado, the Whitecaps have this year's No. 2 overall draft pick Darren Mattocks and the rights to Camilo Sanvezzo and Etienne Barbara.
"Sebastien is a proven goalscorer and playmaker in Major League Soccer," Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie said in a team release. "He is a durable, fit, and speedy attacker, who is capable of playing either up front or wide in midfield. We’re delighted to bring Sebastien back to the Pacific Northwest and add another quality player to our squad."
From the Union's perspective, it would appear coach Peter Nowak is in full-on youth mode. In Le Toux's place are a group of players that show great promise, but are also extremely young. Danny Mwanga (20), Jack McInerney (19) and Josue Martinez (21) would appear to be their top options at forward. This move, along with Monday's sale of goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, is also expected to give the Union the ability to purchase Jose Torres' full transfer. Nowak alluded to that in comments he made on the Union's website.
"While this decision wasn't easy, we are confident that the allocation money we receive will provide the flexibility for us to compile the best possible roster for 2012 and beyond," Nowak said.