Philly Sports Live

Union Select Casey in Re-Entry Draft

The Philadelphia Union this afternoon selected former US International Conor Casey with their pick (5th overall) in the second phase of the MLS Re-Entry draft. One of the top goal scorers in MLS history, Casey was named MVP of the 2010 MLS Cup final, which his Colorado Rapids won. He was released by the team two weeks ago after battling knee injuries for the better part of the season. Casey is perhaps most notable for his two goals on behalf of the US Men’s National Team, both scored in the 2009 World Cup Qualifier in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which sent the US to South Africa. The Union will have the opportunity to negotiate a new contract with Casey, and will hold his MLS rights regardless of whether he signs with the team or not.

An Olympian in 2000, Casey parlayed his success in Sydney into a contract with Bundesliga power Borussia Dortmund, where starred for the reserve side and in a loan to Hannover 96, but was unable to break into the first team, seeing action in only 4 games. A transfer to Mainz 05 promised a fresh start, but he was beset by the first of what would become recurring leg & knee injuries, and was unable to find a regular spot with the German side. Released outright in 2006, he signed with MLS and was allocated to Toronto FC, who then traded him to the Colorado Rapids, his hometown club. He would go on to become an institution in Commerce City, scoring 52 times in 119 games and leading the Rapids to an MLS Cup.

If healthy Casey represents a target forward with the sort of size and experience the Union have lacked since the departure of Alejandro Moreno, able to play with his back to net and distribute to onrushing wing forwards or carve out space in the box on a setpiece. Given the nature of his previous injuries doubts will exist as to his remaining ability in the air, but he was once one of the most feared aerial threats in the league, a component sorely missing in the Union’s attack in 2012. Additionally Casey brings an element of toughness and intimidation the Union have not seen since the loss of Danny Califf.

Casey carried a cap hit of $400,000 last season, but that number should substantially drop on any new contract.

The Union did not select any players in the subsequent rounds of the re-entry draft, passing on several who were considered upgrades to their current squad including left back Tyson Wahl & goalie Kevin Hartman, fueling rumors that more moves are in the works for John Hackworth and his staff.

Stick with Philly Sports Live for further coverage of the Union’s offseason.