Tag Archives: sebastien le toux

Dominant Performance Brings Union One Step Closer to Trophy

Jim Curtin strode into the media room for his United States Open Cup (USOC) semi-final post-game press conference, a smile upon his face.

“You guys have heard me ad nauseum about 1-0 games,” Curtin, the Philadelphia Union manager, said to reporters, “but, for whatever reason in this competition, we show true grit, determination, fight and quality in front of goal.”

Curtin’s squad head to its second straight USOC final after defeating the Chicago Fire  on a goal scored by Sebastien Le Toux. The converted winger created space for himself at the top of the box in the 74′, cutting from right to left before using his left foot to slot his shot to Sean Johnson’s left. The ball curled slightly toward the right post, striking it and beating Johnson, the Fire goalkeeper.

“He’s had a heck of a run in this competition,” Curtin said of Le Toux. “[He] came up in a big spot for us. We’ve had moments where we’ve created a ton of chances and it just won’t go in for you… and then Seba makes that play. We were in such control of the game.”

The goal came about as part of a thoroughly dominate game by the Union, as they held the Fire to just three shots, two on target, in 90 minutes of play. For their part, the Union attempted nine shots, though only three were on goal. In the end only Le Toux’s late game opportunity and finish mattered.

“Tonight it’s about the positives. It’s amazing to get back. We did it and I couldn’t be prouder of our players. To stick together as a group, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

The former Major League Soccer central defender had departed the field of play to fans singing “we want the cup,” adding to the atmosphere of the game that Curtin credited as influential to the end result.

“I’d like to thank the fans, especially in the River End,” Curtin said. “They were excellent tonight. They were very loud. You get into the 85′ minute and the guys are fatigued a bit, and you hear the ‘we want the cup’ chants and it helps push them on.”

Due to Sporting Kansas City’s 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake, which concluded an hour after the Union game, Philadelphia will host SKC on Sept. 30, TBD, at PPL Park. A seeding draw by the United States Soccer Federation determined hosting prior to the semi-final stage of the tournament.

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Exclusive: Curtin Dishes on Left Backs, Carroll’s Future, Goalkeepers and More

On signing a third goalkeeper: “I can’t go into [his name] right now. The contract is literally about to get signed. I don’t want to mess anything up at this stage.”

On acquiring a left back: “We’re still open. We have three guys who are out there who we’re targeting to bring in. I spoke already about Otis Earle, a very good player we were really high on. The price to move up become too steep. There are a couple of kids, two of them are internationals. One is an American kid who we’re looking at right now to bring in to compete at the left back spot. You’ll see some faces in the preseason that come in to really compete at that spot. They’ll be guys that’re younger, up-and-coming players. We’re not in a position cap wise to spend a ton of money at the left back spot, but it’s one that we still value as very important.”

On center backs: “Don’t forget about Richie Marquez. He had a really good year at Harrisburg. A guy with some size. We’re a small backline, to be honest. Richie gives you a guy who’s a legit 6-foot, 3-inches and can win balls in the air. I’m very happy with how Ethan White progressed and finished the year. Mo [Edu] has obviously proven that he can shut down that $8 million striker and that he’s athletic enough to do that and lead our backline. He’s also good on the ball. The experience of Valdes, coming off of the World Cup and kinda getting some rest off of a grind, we expect him to come back better than ever.

On getting another striker and what about Sapong: “CJ can come in and be a no. 9, a guy who you can get crosses to and he’s proven he can score a lot of goals up there by himself. He gives you the flexibility, he can play on the left, he can play wide right. He can play and move in any of those front three spots, which I really like. Is there a situation where we could play with two forwards this year? Yeah, that’s a possibility I’m exploring where CJ could be partnered with a guy we’d bring in. You can’t have enough forwards. Everybody is looking for a goal scorer. We’re still actively pursuing the striker position. We rate CJ very high and I told CJ at the draft that I need double digit goals this year and he’s on board with that. I think he’s a guy who can do that.”

On Le Toux tactically: “I like Sebastien when he plays in that wide right spot, he’s kind of a second forward. We kinda unleashed him at the end of the year and let him run off of the front guy. Seba’s crossing is something that is very valuable. I think he’s underrated in our system. He gets to the end line a lot. He gets a lot of service. To have a bigger guy like a CJ is important for me. He can play as a second forward too, though. We’ll experiment in the preseason and see what formation suits our personnel the best.”

On Danny Cruz: “Danny’s still a guy who’s a pain in the butt to play against. No one in our league likes to play against him. His work ethic is great. He’s great in training every day. He pushes things a lot. He’s the most competitive guy we have. With Danny it’s always can he slow down and make that final pass, that final shot. He works on it every day after training. We’re expecting a good year out of Danny. Heading into the preseason, I have competition at every spot now and that’s something we’re trying to cultivate.”

On holding midfielders: “We have Brian and Lahoud there right now. Brian’s obviously been a starter his entire career and has served the club great. I think he has a couple more years left, but in a lesser role. I’ve talked about that with Brian openly and candidly. I’m excited he’s coming back. He’s important to our locker room and to closing out games. We’re trying to improve on that. We’re also looking to bring in a holding midfielder as well. Mo is a guy who can do that job. I’ve mentioned that I prefer him at center back, however.”

On Gaddis/Williams: “It’s competition. It’s good and healthy for guys. It’s a situation where we might have them compete for the spot. It might end up that the best group to put out there is Sheanon is on the right and Ray is on the left. There’s always teams asking, but we’re really high on both of those guys.”

On intra-league loans: “We have an unlimited number of them. MacMath’s loan isn’t our only one. You can do whatever you want.”

On Andre Blake: “The thinking with Andre is that he needs to get games. Rais is our no. 1. With the partnership with Harrisburg growing and improving, and them training with us or after us every day. We’ll be able to keep really close tabs. We want Andre to train everyday with us. We want him to compete at a pro level, a good level and where there are consequences. Our thinking right now is possibly Harrisburg is that spot for him to get games.”

On the possible international absences of both M’Bolhi and Blake: “We’re looking to bring in another goalkeeper. I’m sure the fans will have a field day with it [laughter]. We obviously are exploring how to take care of that situation. That’s the problem with having two high quality goalkeepers. They could both away on international duty and you need someone to be there.”