Amongst MLS newcomers, Sene tops the charts

French striker scored team-leading 11 goals in memorable first season

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Let’s get philosophical for a second.

We’re all familiar with the classic “chicken-and-egg” situation. You know, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Modified slightly for soccer, I pose to you this question: is a forward happy because he scores goals, or does he score goals because he’s happy?

In the case of Saer Sene, it’s a bit of both.

Like all attack-minded players, Sene loves to score goals, something he did 11 times this season, making him the top goal scorer amongst MLS newcomers. But like all people, his performance at the workplace can be affected by his disposition. Luckily for the New England Revolution, Sene couldn’t be happier with life in the United States.

“I love the mentality in the U.S.,” Sene said in an August interview. “I love the atmosphere and I adapted very quickly because I have very nice teammates. I go out with them, I see the mentality here and it’s really the top of my life. That’s why I adapted very fast [off the field]. If I feel good outside the field, if I feel good on the field, I will enjoy my job.”

Sene’s rapid adaptation to life in MLS compares quite favorably with some of the most impressive newcomers in recent years. The 25-year-old Frenchman averaged 0.44 goals per game in his first season, matching the scoring output of past Newcomer of the Year winners Fredy Montero (2009) and Alvaro Saborio (2010).

“He’s dangerous everywhere,” said rookie midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who assisted on Sene’s stunning Goal of the Week strike on July 29 at PPL Park. “You can play him over the top, you can play him to his feet and he’ll get it back to you. He and I have connected on a couple goals here and there. You play it anywhere around him and he’s got those long legs. He’s got great touch, great vision and if you put him around the goal, he’s going to score.”

Score is precisely what Sene did, accounting for almost 30 percent of the Revolution’s goals despite missing the final eight games of the season following surgery to repair a torn ACL. His 11 goals were the most scored by a Revolution player in a single season since Taylor Twellman registered 16 goals in 2007.

But head coach Jay Heaps believes there’s even more to come from Sene, who currently ranks seventh on the Castrol Index, designed “to determine the best performing players in MLS.” Heaps was thrilled with Sene’s production in his first MLS season, but is also confident his French striker will make even more waves in year two.

“I think we all saw when we brought him into camp that he had a flare for some special plays,” Heaps said. “He delivered. I think we want more from him. I think he can get more. I think he could’ve had 15 or 20 goals before he got injured. Next year he’s going to recover and hopefully we’ll get him back full strength.”

The Revs may be looking forward to getting Sene back at full strength, but opposing defenders may not share those sentiments. They already had quite the introduction in 2012.