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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Fun's over, folks. Back to business.

Saturday marked the end of a weeklong hub-bub surrounding Sebastien Le Toux's return to PPL Park. The Union favorite, traded to Vancouver in the offseason, got cheered during a 0-0 draw.

Le Toux, who stuck around the Whitecaps' dressing room in order to meet up with Union media, said he enjoyed his return to the city where he earned all-star distinction, MLS Best XI status and ranked among the league's top-five goalscorers in 2010 and 2011.

“I knew it would be something special, but I was not thinking as much,” Le Toux said. “I'm just thankful for the fans.”

After lauding the Union faithful, Le Toux patted his teammates on the back. Vancouver (2-0-2) sits near the top of the Western Conference table.

“We are building it,” Le Toux said. “We are getting better. … We have lots of quality, but we have to work on our patience sometimes and work on everybody and (remember) that we are a group.”

Aside from Le Toux, defender Jordan Harvey (who got the start) and backup goalkeeper Brad Knighton (who didn't see the pitch) also felt right at home at PPL Park.

“I spoke to both of them (Le Toux and Harvey) before they got in, more just to catch up,” said Union captain Danny Califf, who contributed to the cleansheet. “I hadn't spoken to Sebastien in between the time he's been gone. I've spoken to Jordan a lot more often. He was my roommate here and he was my best friend on the team, so I've continued that relationship. It was great to see them and see them out there today. It's relationships like that that make this job cool.”

Well, that being said, it's back to the drawing board for the Union (0-3-1), who have more than a week to shake off their early-season rust before resuming play with an April 14 match against visiting Columbus.

The bye week comes at an opportune moment for Peter Nowak's club, who look like they need a timeout --- even if it's only four matches into the season. Now, before we jump to any conclusions about where this team is headed, though, let's remember that the Union clinched a playoff berth in 2011 even after going eight matches without securing a win.

Just playing devil's advocate.

(Times staff photos / COLIN KERRIGAN)

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