Rapids teammates honor Casey for "special" goal

Following US snub, forward proves his worth to club team


COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — His Colorado Rapids teammates know
what Conor Casey has been through following his disappointing exclusion from
the U.S. World Cup squad. They also know how important he is to the team. Those
two things made his match-winning goal all the sweeter tonight as the Rapids
ran out 1-0 victors over Seattle at home.

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Casey took a pass from fellow striker Omar Cummings in the
63rd minute, beat off a challenge from Jeff Parke in the Seattle
defense and coolly chipped Kasey Keller for the decisive goal. It was the
striker’s first league goal in open play since September 12 last year.

Club captain Pablo Mastroeni said that Casey even wondered
at halftime where his next goal would come from. After all the disappointment
of recent weeks, it was a sweet moment for everyone.

“It was really special for me, for him, for everyone in this
locker room,” Mastroeni said. “He is extremely important to this team. Everyone
in this room would jump off a bridge for him. You need a break and he finished
it with class. That is one of the reasons why he is one of the best forwards in
this league.”

Mastroeni’s words were echoed by Colin Clark, who came on as
a second half substitute shortly after the Rapids took the lead with Casey’s

“Everyone is going to go through their droughts,” Clark told
MLSsoccer.com. “Good players snap out of them, and especially good players snap
out of them with brilliant goals, and he scored that goal against one of the
best ever U.S. keepers. So, for him to do that in a 0-0 game, just shows the
class he has.”

Rapids head coach Gary Smith said the goal capped a fine
performance from his big striker.

 “He’s come up
with a finish that I don’t think any of us were expecting,” Smith said. “It was
a fantastic finish. His performance was up there with his best in open play all

Casey was typically modest after the game, as happy that the
team continues to play well as he is scoring the all-important goal.

“We are playing well,” he said. “We are playing better than
we have done in the last couple of years. We are going in the right direction.”