Harvey set for battle with former 'Caps midfielder

Le Toux returns to Vancouver

Harvey Le Toux Philadelphia

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VANCOUVER, BC - Former Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Sebastien Le Toux is back in town and his good friend and former teammate is hoping it won’t be a pleasant stay ­– at least for 90 minutes Saturday at BC Place.

When Whitecaps FC host the Philadelphia Union this weekend, it will be a reunion of sorts for Le Toux and ‘Caps defender Jordan Harvey, who made 46 appearances with the Union between 2010 and 2011.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him,” Harvey told whitecapsfc.com. “But in those 90 minutes, it will be about competing and wanting to beat your old team and old friends.”

Harvey and Le Toux first met back in 2010 as members of the expansion Union. In fact, they were roommates those first few weeks and hit it off right away.

The duo played together for about a year and a half before Harvey was acquired by Whitecaps FC ­– who at the time were an expansion team in their own right.

They wouldn’t be separated for long, however, as Le Toux soon was reunited with his former teammate on the West Coast after he too was acquired by the ‘Caps at the start of the 2012 season.

The hard-working Frenchman appeared in 19 matches with the Blue and White, scoring four goals during that period, before being traded back to the East to join the New York Red Bulls. Finally, Le Toux came full circle and returned to Philadelphia in December 2012.

Although they’re now on different sides of the continent, Harvey and Le Toux still keep in touch on a regular basis ­– as do their girlfriends.

“His girlfriend is actually staying with us right now,” Harvey laughed. “We’ve all become good friends.”

And they all went out for dinner on Friday evening, but the camaraderie will be short-lived. As the old adage goes, there are no friends on the pitch.

As a left fullback, there’s a good chance Harvey will be tasked with shutting down the Frenchman – something that many teams have struggled with this season. Le Toux, an attacking right midfielder, leads MLS with nine assists in 20 appearances this season.

“Jordan knows a lot of Sebastien’s tendencies and what he likes to do as a player, which bodes well for Jordan,” said Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton, was also a member of the inaugural Union squad. “Sebastien’s pace up and down the wing - that you saw here - is second to none in the league. As long as we can limit him and limit his role on the ball, I think we’ll be better off.”

For his part, Harvey has quietly become one of Martin Rennie’s most reliable defenders. The versatile MLS veteran assumed Vancouver’s starting left back position earlier this season and has not disappointed. Though not known for his offence, he’s even chipped in with three goals in 11 appearances.

“I’ve gotten that opportunity and I’ve tried to grab a hold and not let go,” said Harvey. “Hopefully the fans and people around the league see that. I’m just trying to prove myself day in day out, game in game out and hopefully I’ve been doing that.”

He will have another opportunity to do that this weekend.

With Union striker Conor Casey suspended due to caution accumulation, the match-up between Harvey and Le Toux could play a part in deciding the outcome of the game.

"I don’t think he slows down for 90 minutes and I think that’s the key to his game," said Harvey. "Hopefully I can just close him down. He’s been getting a lot of assists lately, so hopefully I can just deny him the ball and get stuck in a few times because that’s always fun.”