What better way for Vancouver Whitecaps FC to start season two than a goal from Sébastien Le Toux?
The club’s biggest offseason offensive acquisition took only four minutes to score what would turn out to be the game winner in Vancouver’s 2-0 opening-day win over the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon.
As it turns out, that early strike was the fastest ever scored in a Major League Soccer season opener.
“If you wrote it up any way you wanted, you’d definitely want an early goal,” Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie told reporters after the win. “That definitely settles the nerves and gives confidence, because Montreal started the first few minutes well and then we caught them on the other end of it, so it was a welcome goal and definitely a big part of the win.”
The Frenchman likes to make good first impressions – he scored an early goal as part of a hat-trick on his home debut two years ago for Philadelphia Union against D.C. United.
“It was a great start,” Le Toux told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday. “I couldn’t dream of a better start here, but the win is the most important thing.”
For Le Toux, getting off the mark early in the 2012 season should ease the pressure – he started 2011 slowly with only one goal in his first 22 games.
“Last year, it took 22 games to score my second goal,” Le Toux said. “All of you [media] were on my back because I wasn’t scoring a goal in the games, but I always say the most important thing is the win and I’m going to say the same thing tonight.”
Le Toux seemed to chase every ball and forced Montreal’s defenders into errors on a number of occasions.
“He’s so hard-working,” Rennie said. “When we didn’t have the ball, he found a man every time. If any of the other guys were out of position, Sébastien was the guy who filled in.
“Those things go unnoticed sometimes, but to me, those are absolutely key to our team and if we’re going to be any good, we’re going to have to have guys like him who work that hard, and everybody did it today, but he definitely covers a lot of ground.”
Le Toux also played a part alongside Eric Hassli and Davide Chiumiento in the build-up to Camilo Sanvezzo’s 54th-minute left-footed strike. Despite not playing much with Hassli in preseason, the pair seemed to link up well right from the start, as it was Hassli’s header which put Le Toux in for the opener.
“He’s really smart,” Hassli said of Le Toux’s performance. “A lot of movement – he knows my quality and I know his quality. He can run, or stay behind me. It’s a pleasure to play with him.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.