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Expansion costs: Le Toux plus two, plus more

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Oct. 7, 2011 at 9:35 am with 3 Comments »
October 7, 2011 9:49 am

Le Toux

The Philadelphia Union’s arrival in Seattle always serves as a reminder of how painful MLS expansion can be.

The Union arrives for its 7 p.m. Saturday match along with Sebastien Le Toux, who went from a hyper-popular Sounder to a hyper-productive All-Star after the 2010 expansion that brought Philly into the league.

In the draft that stocked this season’s expansion teams — Vancouver and Portland — the Sounders lost Sanna Nyassi and Nathan Sturgis, each selected by the Whitecaps and then moved.

The coming off-season will bring another expansion, into Montreal this time. And it’s likely the following season will bring another as MLS finally closes in on its goal of becoming a 20-team league.

Yesterday at training, I asked general manager Adrian Hanauer about the past and future expansion drafts:

Looking ahead: “My assumption is that (the draft format) will be the same as the Philly year. … You never know what other teams value in terms of your roster. And with 18 teams in the league, basically half the teams won’t lose a player. I certainly think there’s a good chance that we will lose a player, and it is gut-wrenching, the process for us and the players. It’s always distressing and a little bit sad when one of the family leaves.”

Looking back: “In some cases it gives the guy a fresh start and maybe an opportunity that might not have existed in the current organization. Sebastien obviously has flourished in Philly. Sanna has done well in Colorado. Stugis, maybe that situation hasn’t worked out quite the way he would have loved and maybe hasn’t been a huge positive. But it’s the system we’ve got and unfortunately it’s likely we’ll lose someone.”

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. EverydayFan says:

    Le Toux legit to quit

  2. ciscokid says:

    Sigi’s biggest miss so far was underestimating Le Toux and playing him out of position. I’ve moved on but I’ll always regret that we lost our hero. Really glad he’s proving right all of us who supported him.

  3. exSlacker says:

    As the coach of the U-20’s, Sigi’s job was to teach conventional soccer strategy to young players. To take the known and make these kids to be masterful executors of traditionally successful tactics. He was very good at it. He carried that on to his MLS coaching and had been fortunately enough to be able to build teams that could also execute these strategies well. Le Toux just didn’t fit into that model and would likely have never found true favor in Seattle…and that would have been a shame.

    It is just this year that you see Sigi really shaking off the shackles (and some of the benefits) of that approach. With the loss of Nkufo and then White and the subsequent failure to sign a premier target striker, Sigi’s hand has been forced. Earlier this season, you could see him resisting, always starting forward pairings that included a larger forward at the expense of a hotter or more dangerous smaller forward. You never saw Montero/Fucito. To his credit – and perhaps partially do to the congested schedule – he has softened that stance. This softening may also be due to Mauro and the way he has forced a sort of re-definition of the role of the midfield. With our wings pulling into what I call the “alleys” frequently, and all sorts of overlapping runs, Sigi has gotten very, very creative and this team plays a beautiful and fairly unique brand of attacking football. In my opinion, it’s more fun and more beautiful to watch than the more traditional “target man” formula.

    What’s the point of this post and how is it relevant? Well…Le Toux would fit into our current scheme BEAUTIFULLY. The irony is – had he stayed – he would likely have never blossomed as he has and we would likely have never have arrived at our beautiful new style. I think that, in the end, as gut-wrenching as it is to see that work-rate and endless engine playing against us, things probably worked out better for all parties.

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