Union to see a familiar face with Red Bulls: Le Toux

Posted: July 21, 2012

Union players caught up with Sebastien Le Toux at the end of March when the Vancouver Whitecaps visited PPL Park in Chester.

Le Toux, who was a fan favorite on the Union in 2010 and 2011, spent some time chatting with his old teammates. They talked about the differences in the two teams and the differences in life in Canada.

Then they said their good-byes, assuming they wouldn't play against each other until next season.

A week ago, though, Le Toux was acquired by the New York Red Bulls - just in time for a nationally televised game Saturday in Harrison, N.J., between the two rivals and two of Major League Soccer's hottest teams.

"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 cgraff@philly.com. Follow

on Twitter @ChadGraff.

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