COMMERCE CITY COLO. (Monday September 29 2008) – Colorado Rapids forward Conor Casey was voted Major League Soccer's Player of the Week for Week 27 of the 2008 season the league announced today.
Casey scored three goals including the game-winner in the 90th minute to help lift Colorado to a 5-4 victory over the New York Red Bulls Saturday night in the league’s highest-scoring match of the season.
Now in his second season in MLS Conor Casey leads the Rapids in scoring with eight goals on the year placing him among the top 10 in the league. This is the first Player of the Week honor for Casey and the second earned by a Colorado player this season (Terry Cooke - Week 1).
Casey scored in the 11th 45th and 90th minutes Saturday night to record the first hat trick scored by a former Colorado high school athlete in franchise history and the first for the Rapids since Jeff Cunningham against Chivas USA on June 18 2005.
Casey’s first goal of the night came when he started the play by jumping high to flick the ball to Omar Cummings in the attacking third. He spun around and received a short pass from Cummings and raced in-between two Red Bulls defenders and poked the ball over Jon Conway with the outside of his right foot giving the Rapids a 2-1 advantage.
Casey again gave the Rapids the lead at 4-3 when he converted a penalty kick in the 45th minute. Casey had helped set up the PK by making an acrobatic leap to head down a cross right to the feet of Nick LaBrocca who was fouled as he attempted to play the ball earning the penalty.
On his final goal of the night Casey notched the game-winner and completed the hat trick with a one-touch volley that flew inside the right goal post. Mehdi Ballouchy collected the ball at midfield and dribbled up the left flank. He sent a curling left-footed cross into the penalty area where Casey who had slipped by two defenders met the ball in stride knocking in the volley with the inside of his right foot and securing the win for Colorado.
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/.