Seattle Sounders FC forward Sebastien Le Toux is the TheCup.us Player of the Round for the Semifinal round of the tournament.
Le Toux, who was the leading scorer in the US Open Cup in 2007 and 2008, was involved in both Sounders goals in their 2-1 extra-time victory over the Houston Dynamo on July 21 in Tukwila, Wash.
The Frenchman took the time to answer some questions from TheCup.us senior editor Josh Hakala via e-mail.
You assisted on both goals in Seattle’s 2-1 win over Houston in the semifinals. Can you describe those goals that you helped create?
On the first goal I received a pass from Steve Zakuani and I found Roger Levesque in the box, who passed in one touch to Nate Jaqua and he scored. On the second goal, I didn’t really touch the ball, rather I just made a fake on a cross from Steve Zakuani and Stephen King was just behind me and scored.
How much did the goal by Nate Jaqua help create momentum going into extra time?
It was two minutes before the end of the game. We were pushing very hard to equalize with all our fans behind us. So after we scored, we had the momentum and continued to attack. And we quickly scored the second goal in extra time.
A lot has changed from last year, except the name of the team. Can you describe how different it has been from last year to this year in terms of the team, the fans and the league?
It’s been more professional for the team because of our new facilities, new practices fields, new owners, new coaches, etc. … And we still have the same fans from the years before who have been absolutely amazing. Not to mention the great marketing of the team has attracted an even broader fan base.
How has your role changed from the USL-1 Sounders last year to the MLS Sounders this year?
This is my first year at the MLS level, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can from new coach Sigi Schmid, and my teamates like (midfielder Freddie) Ljungberg and (goalkeeper Kasey) Keller who have great experience.
You seem to thrive in this tournament. In just three years, you are already among the top goalscorers in the Professional Era, having led the tournament in goals the last two years. What is it about this competition that helps you to perform so well?
I don’t know. Maybe the Open Cup likes me! I for sure like playing in the Open Cup. I am just lucky to score lots of goals in this competition. And I hope it’s going to continue.
You were the first player signed by the Sounders MLS club. How did that feel, to be the first player signed by the new club? Was it a huge relief to be signed so early and to know that not only would you be guaranteed a club to play for, but that it would be in the same city?
I am very proud and honored to be the first player signed by the Sounders FC. This was the city I wanted to play in at the MLS level. I love Seattle and all the people here and I am very happy to play for this city.
This is your third year playing professionally in the United States. Players who come from other countries to play here often say that it takes time to adapt to a new league and a new country. How has your transition been and do you feel like you’re completely comfortable playing here in the US?
It takes time to adapt. My English is not perfect, so it takes time for my teamates to fully understand me and for me to understand them. Also playing on turf is different than in Europe, so that took some time to adapt. The time difference between Seattle and any city on the East Coast is tough. But after a fews trips, I’m comfortable with the travel schedule and day-to-day rhythm. Having quality people around me has helped.
What are your expectations for the Open Cup final against D.C. United and for the remainder of the MLS season?
Of course, it’s to win this competition. D.C. is a very good opponent, so we have to be ready for this game. And for the MLS season, I hope first that we qualify for the playoffs and second to do the best we can to go as far as possible; perhaps winning the Cup.
Thanks to Zac Kaplan of the Sounders media relations department for his assistance, and to the team for the use of the image of Le Toux above.
The Player of the Round is selected by the staff of USOpenCup.com and members of the North American Soccer Reporters, a group that consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information about the NASR can be found at www.soccerreporters.com.