The Vancouver Whitecaps added more firepower to an already packed front line Tuesday, acquiring striker Sebastien Le Toux from the Philadelphia Union for allocation money.
The surprise move gives the second-year MLS club another weapon up front, with the Mont-Saint-Aignan native expected to play alongside fellow Frenchman Eric Hassli.
Last season, the 28-year-old forward scored 11 goals and nine assists in 34 games with the Union. It was a slight drop from the previous year, when he had 14 goals and 11 assists in 28 starts and was selected to the MLS All-Star game. It's that offensive threat Le Toux hopes to replicate in Vancouver.
"I just try to continue to progress my game and help them to score goals," Le Toux said, during a conference call Tuesday. "It's going to be great to be with (Hassli) on the same team and try to play together and make things happen."
Team president Bob Lenarduzzi praised the forwards' overall game, in addition to his scoring prowess.
"What we like about Sebastien is the points he puts on the board," Lenarduzzi said. "In addition to that, his work rate for a forward is second to none. He's always willing to put in the extra work to get the ball back and that's not normally something you associate with a forward that scores goals. That's something we're looking to incorporate onto our squad."
Le Toux tweeted early Tuesday of his sadness in leaving Philadelphia, saying he "still can't believe it." But his tone has since changed to excitement in joining the Whitecaps.
"I'm very happy to move to Vancouver," he said. "It's a great city to live and play football. It's great to have a team that really wants you and to play for it, it's great. It'll be a great new adventure for me, and I'm just looking forward to that."
Prior to the Union, Le Toux was the first player signed by the Seattle Sounders in their inaugural MLS season. He played two years in the USL First Division before that with the Sounders, scoring 24 goals in 47 games.
Coach Martin Rennie said the trade opportunity presented itself to the team in the last couple of days, and it was one they had to take, especially with the versatility Le Toux provides.
"He fits in a few positions," the Scotsman said. "When our team doesn't have the ball, he's a guy who works really, really hard to get it back. He also then has that threat with the ball, that ability to get behind people, the ability to assist on goals, the ability to score goals."
Last season, the six-foot forward played every minute of every regular season game with the Union. While Rennie isn't sure if that'll be repeated with the 'Caps, the stat alone speaks volumes about Le Toux's fitness level.
"Time will tell," he said. "But there is a lot of competition in our team as well. There might be times where someone comes off the bench and can be a big threat for us. The fact that he has done that speaks to his professionalism and his fitness and that's an important attribute for us. He can run all day."
The Whitecaps, who finished last in the league last season with 35 goals, now have nine forwards listed on their squad, including residency player Caleb Clarke and trialist Etienne Barbara – who Rennie expects to sign soon. The Whitecaps also selected speedy forward Darren Mattocks with the second overall pick at the SuperDraft in January.
"Some people look at players as strikers or forwards, when in my mind they're more midfielders or wide players. I don't think we've got such an abundance as everybody else seems to think, but I definitely think we've got a enough competition and a great opportunity to be dangerous going forward."
The Whitecaps flew to Arizona Tuesday to start their 10-day camp in Casa Grande. Le Toux will join them Wednesday.