Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rapids All-Time Team: Target Forward

The starting target forward for the Rapids All-Time Team is Conor Casey.

How Acquired: Acquired from Toronto FC in exchange for allocation money, allocation position, and the rights to Riley O'Neill .

Years In Colorado: Early 2007 through present

This was an easy pick. There were 3 obvious choices for this team, Balboa, Mastroeni, and Casey. Conor is, by far, the best striker to ever put on a Rapids uniform. When he first arrived in Colorado in 2007 he was still recovering from a knee injury and his first season wasn't that impressive. Since the start of the 2008 season though, he's scored more goals than any other forward in MLS who's name isn't Landon Donovan. He's also blown right by Paul Bravo's team record for career goals (48 to 39 in 34 less games) and beaten John Spencer's record for goals in a season (16 to 14). Casey is also the only Rapids player to have more than 1 career hat-trick, with 3.

Casey's game may not look like much at a glimpse. He looks a bit slow and lumbering and at time he has feet of stone. At the same time though he's always where he needs to be, he can hold the ball better than almost any other striker in the league, and he finds his strike partner, particularly Omar Cummings, with great passes more often than not. I've heard him called an MLS-level Alan Shearer, which isn't a bad description. For some reason there's a noticeable number of fans who see Casey's negatives as greater than his positives, which is mind-boggling to me. The Rapids would be a significantly worse team over the last 4+ seasons without Casey.

One final note, Casey scored the most important goal ever scored by a Rapids player, and it earned him (or his twin Casey Conor) the MLS Cup MVP award. Excuse the quality of the video, it was the best I could find on YouTube.

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