"We thought we had seen the last of him," Union defenseman Sheanon Williams said. "Now we're going to see him two more times. And this [game] Saturday was going to be a big game before [Le Toux joined]."
Since Le Toux played the then-winless Union, they have fired manager Peter Nowak and have won four of their last five MLS games.
Le Toux's new team enters equally hot and sits in second place in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls, with star striker Thierry Henry, haven't lost at home this season and have lost only two MLS matches since the end of May.
"They're good," Williams said. "We'll be ready for them."
Union manger John Hackworth isn't worried about his team coming off a friendly Wednesday night against the Premier League's Aston Villa.
None of his starters played the whole game and a few didn't play at all.
"Look, if we weren't playing tonight we would have had a hard session anyway," Hackworth said Wednesday. "It was a lot hotter earlier. So it was kind of a break because we played under the lights, and while it was hot and humid, we kick off at 2:30 Saturday, so it's going to be worse.
"We have a rhythm, we have a plan to how we prepare. And on a Wednesday before a Saturday game, it's going to be a tough session."
New York won the only matchup between these teams, a 3-2 tilt in the middle of May at PPL Park.
But this is a different Union. Hackworth, for one, is the coach. He has the Union playing much better offensively than they were earlier this season.
And, of course, New York is a different team as well.
It won't take long for Union players to remember that when they look across the pitch and spot their old friend, No. 9, once again.
Contact Chad Graff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow
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