Casey Sets Club Record With MLS Player of the Week Award

NEW YORK (Monday August 10 2009) – Colorado Rapids forward Conor Casey was voted Major League Soccer's Player of the Week for Week 21 of the 2009 season MLS announced today.
The occasion marks the first time in club history that a Rapids player has won the MLS Player of the Week Award three times in the same season. The previous record holder was midfielder Mark Chung who won the MLS POTW Award twice in 2002 on back-to-back weeks in Week 10 and 11.
This is also the 4th career MLS Player of the Week Award honor for Casey which ties him for the club record with Rapids Gallery of Honor inductee and current Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo who also took home the honor 4 times in his Colorado career from 1997-2001.
Casey tallied three first-half goals for his second hat trick of the season and third all-time to propel the Rapids to a 4-0 victory over Chivas USA last Saturday night. The victory improved the Rapids record to 8-6-6 with 30 points and gave them sole possession of third place in the Western Conference.
(Click here to watch free video highlights of all three of Casey's goals vs. Chivas USA on Saturday).
This is Casey’s fourth career MLS Player of the Week award and his third this season. The first two MLS Player of the Week awards won by Casey coincided with his first and second career three-goal games Week 27 of the 2008 season and Week 3 of the 2009 season with the other coming in Week 11 of this year when Casey tallied two goals in the Rapids' 3-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls.
(Click here to read about the history of Rapids hat tricks on the club's official team blog The Undercurrent).
Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni gave the club an early lead scoring just 26 seconds into the game. Mastroeni’s goal the sixth-fastest in MLS history was his first goal in four years and only the fourth goal of his 12-year MLS career. The scintillating strike from Mastroeni fired up the crowd and provided the setting for a night dominated by Casey and the Rapids.
Casey tallied his first goal of the night just three minutes after Mastroeni’s strike. Off a throw-in Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings flicked the ball over the Chivas USA defense to Casey who controlled the ball and sent a delicate lob with his instep over Chivas USA goalkeeper Lance Parker. The shot caught Parker off his line and was placed just out of his reach as it caromed off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal.
Cummings found his strike partner again in the 23rd minute. Taking a deep lob from midfielder Kosuke Kimura in the Chivas USA half Cummings dribbled down the right side of the field and into the Chivas USA penalty area before sending a pass across the goalmouth. Casey charged in behind the defense and redirected the ball into the goal at the back post for his second tally of the game.
Casey finished off the first half in grand fashion completing the hat trick in added time from the penalty spot. The spot kick was set up when Cummings was pulled down in the penalty area by Chivas USA defender Shavar Thomas. Casey stepped up and coolly chipped the ball over Parker who dove left and was helpless to stop Casey’s effort from floating into the net.
Casey who missed the last two games due to injury and suspension for caution accumulation scored his first goal since May 23. The hat trick Casey’s second of the season and third of his career gave the Rapids front runner the lead in the Budweiser Golden Boot Race with 11 goals one more then Guillermo Barros Schelotto (10). Three others are tied with nine goals a piece.
Through 14 games Casey has equaled his 2008 goal total and previous career-best of 11 goals. Casey’s impressive season has led to a call-up with the United States national team as they prepare to take on Mexico Wednesday Aug. 12 in a World Cup qualifier.
Casey and the third place Rapids have a bye week before facing the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday Aug. 23 at 4pm MT.
The Major League Soccer Player of the Week is selected each week of the MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from The North American Soccer Reporters (NASR). The group consists of members of print television radio and online media. More information and membership information can be found at http://www.soccerreporters.com.
2009 MLS Player of the Week Winners
WEEK 1: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders FC)
WEEK 2: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC)
WEEK 3: Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)
WEEK 4: Donovan Ricketts (Los Angeles Galaxy)
WEEK 5: Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)
WEEK 6: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
WEEK 7: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
WEEK 8: Macoumba Kandji (New York Red Bulls)
WEEK 9: Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)
WEEK 10: Amado Guevara (Toronto FC)
WEEK 11: Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)
WEEK 12: Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
WEEK 13: Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew)
WEEK 14: Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids)
WEEK 15: Nate Jaqua (Seattle Sounders FC)
WEEK 16: Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)
WEEK 17: Chad Barrett (Toronto FC)
WEEK 18: Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Chicago Fire)
WEEK 19: Yura Movsisyan (Real Salt Lake)
WEEK 20: Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)
WEEK 21: Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)