'Checking the stats': Sebastien Le Toux and the real U.S. Open Cup scoring record (with video)
After the Philadelphia Union forward scored as part of the club’s 2-0 win over the New England Revolution in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Le Toux was reminded in the locker room that the goal, his 14th in the competition, made him the all-time leading scorer in the modern era of the Cup.
The Frenchman’s response? “I even thought before that I scored more than the number that was said,” he offered. “I think I scored more, so I think you should check your stats, guys.”
Sebastien Le Toux of @PhilaUnion just scored his 14th career @USOpenCup goal - he is now the leading goalscorer in Modern Pro Era #USOC2014Well, after a little discussion with colleague Dave Zietlin of MLSsoccer.com and some (non-deadline) time to dig, we can say that Le Toux is certainly correct.
— TheCup.us (@usopencup) July 9, 2014
In his feature on Le Toux’s record-setting performance Tuesday, Dave correctly identified an outlier goal scored by Le Toux in 2010 for the Union in a 2-1 loss to the Red Bulls. That goal, however, doesn’t count toward the U.S. Open Cup record because of a pedantic (I’d prefer the term “asinine”) distinction between Open Cup and Open Cup qualifying.
From 2009 to 2011, MLS clubs had to qualify among themselves for the tournament, a way to presumably give teams lower in the American soccer pyramid a chance to get further in the tournament. As a result, only eight MLS teams actually participated in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Cups; the others only played in qualifying. Technically speaking, the Union didn’t qualify for the U.S. Open Cup until 2012, losing play-in matches in 2010 and 2011. Not only was it a silly system, in retrospect, but it’s even more nonsensical to not count personal accolades in those games toward Open Cup totals. That inane distinction will be ignored for the rest of this evaluation.
Editorializing aside, therein lies the discrepancy in Le Toux's situation. So instead of his 14th goal in the competition Tuesday, Le Toux has to his name, for all intents and purposes, 17 goals. That includes the goal in 2010 against the Red Bulls, plus two goals (and two assists) in a 2009 qualifier in which Seattle beat Real Salt Lake, 4-1. Those tallies would put him well ahead of Jaime Moreno, David Bulow and Johnny Menyongar, the three players with whom he had supposedly been tied entering last night.
Le Toux’s total in the U.S. Open Cup, participating from 2007-09 with Seattle and 2010-11 and 2013-14 for the Union stands at 17 goals and nine assists, a remarkable total. (You could add to that a pair of goals scored during his Vancouver Whitecaps days in the 2012 Amway Canadian Championships, if you want to continue the domestic cup domination trend.)
Since information on the recent history of the U.S. Open Cup is hard to come by – the Sounders media guide, for instance, only covers the MLS era that started in 2009 (jump to page numbered "136," or 88 in the actual pdf page), making Wikipedia (begrudgingly) the most reliable compendium of links on the topic – here’s a handy reference as Le Toux tries to distance himself from the pack as the competition’s modern leader.
(Cumulative totals in parenthesis)
Total: 5 goals, 1 assist
|Sebastien Le Toux, left, and Steve Zakuani, right, mob Stephen King |
after his goal in extra time of the 2009 U.S. Open Cup semifinal,
a 2-1 win over Houston. Le Toux assisted on the Sounders' other goal. (AP)
Total: 5 goals (10 goals, 1 assist)
We’ll credit Le Toux with those two goals and two assists in the play-in game vs. Real Salt Lake. His next contribution came in the quarterfinal, when his penalty-kick goal gave the Sounders a 1-0 win over the Wizards. He assisted on a goal in the semifinal win over the Dynamo, then provided the assist on Roger Levesque’s winner over D.C. United, 2-1, in the final.
Total: 3 goals, 4 assists (13goals, 5 assists)
Le Toux had the aforementioned goal against the Red Bulls in the Union’s inaugural (psudeo) Open Cup contest, a 2-1 loss. The following year, Le Toux didn’t find the score sheet but made a shootout penalty kick as the Union were banished from the competition, 2-2 (4-2 PKs) by D.C.
Total: 1 goal (14 goals, 5 assists)
Le Toux was infamously dealt to Vancouver after a falling out with Peter Nowak. While he scored twice in the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Open Cup, by the time he was dealt back to the States in mid-July to the Red Bulls, they had already been eliminated from the competition. That means he missed out on the Union's run to the semis that year.
Le Toux had a career year in terms of assists, his corner-kick deliveries leading to 12 assists in MLS play. He added two helpers off corners in the desperation comeback win over Ocean City, 2-1, in the third round. He was kept off the scoresheet in the 3-1 elimination at the hands of D.C. in the fourth round.
Total: 0 goals, 2 assists (14 goals, 7 assists)
Le Toux’s exploits this year include a pair of assists against Harrisburg City in the third round, a 3-1 win after extra time, and a pair of goals to “tie” the record in a 2-1 (AET) win over the New York Cosmos, including the game-winning PK in the 115th minute. He added the record-breaking free-kick goal against New England Tuesday.
Total: 3 goals, 2 assists (17 goals, 9 assists ... and counting)
Labels: David Bulow, Jaime Moreno, Johnny Menyongar, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, Roger Levesque, Seattle Sounders, Sebastien Le Toux, Taylor Twellman, U.S. Open Cup, Vancouver Whitecaps