Crew SC’s meeting with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday is particularly meaningful for one player in Black & Gold. Forward Conor Casey spent six seasons with his hometown club – six very successful seasons.
The Denver, Colorado native played for the Rapids from 2007 to 2012, appearing in 119 matches (101 starts). Casey scored 50 goals during that time and to this day is the club’s all-time leader in that category. He was a two-time MLS All-Star (2009, 2010) and won the 2010 MLS Cup with the Rapids.
During Colorado’s run to the MLS Cup in 2010, Casey scored in the 84th minute of the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium to tie the series 2-2 on aggregate. The Rapids defeated the Black & Gold 5-4 on penalties to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Casey’s heroics would again be needed in the 2010 MLS Cup Final, where the striker connected on a sliding attempt to put the ball in the back of the net in the 57th minute to equalize against FC Dallas. Colorado went on to win its only MLS Cup title, 2-1, and Casey was named MVP of the match.
“It was probably the best moment of my career, being there and winning a Cup for my hometown team, a team I grew up watching as a kid,” he says. “So I certainly still have a connection to them and to the club, and whenever I see them or play against them, it's special.”
After his time with Colorado, Casey joined the Philadelphia Union in 2013. The forward appeared in 70 matches (45 starts) for Philly, scoring 21 goals and notching eight assists. One of those goals came on July 12, 2014, against Colorado, which he celebrated with subtle “fist pump”.
Casey says initially it felt “a little strange” playing against his former club, but that has passed by now.
“There’s a lot of new faces on the team now, so it’s a little different now,” he says. “But almost four years removed from me being there, there’s still a little, I guess, extra incentive.”
Casey, who joined CrewSC as a free agent on January 26, 2016, currently sits sixth all-time among active players for goals scored with 71. The striker will certainly look to add to his tally wearing the Black & Gold. Maybe he’ll even get that opportunity once again against his former club.
More importantly, though, the striker hopes Crew SC can earn three points against the Western Conference leaders.
“We’ve done so many good things this season so far, so I think take the positive parts and keep going,” he says. “Our team is confident, we know how to play, and it’s just a matter of keep pushing forward and keep fine tuning everything.”