COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Colorado Rapids striker Conor Casey isn’t accustomed to sitting on the bench, relegated to watching the action rather than creating it. But for the last two games, that’s exactly where the Rapids’ all-time leading scorer has started, once due to injury and the other due to a coach’s decision.
The 2012 season has gone far from plan for the Rapids’ iconic striker, the hometown hero who attended Denver South high school before making his way to Colorado professionally back in 2007. Casey only has two goals in 16 games so far this season (11 starts) while struggling to consistently stay in the lineup due to a variety of nagging injuries.
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Casey ruptured his Achilles last July and only returned to action in late April, but even after his return, the striker has battled a variety of injuries since that have combined to make 2012 a difficult year for the 31-year-old former US international.
“Definitely the most frustrating [year of my career], yeah,” Casey told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “It’s a lot of different things, but [injuries are] the main one, for sure.”
Last Friday night against the Galaxy, Casey came on as a second-half substitute and nearly scored in the 79th minute after a neat cut-back move, only for Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas to make a spectacular sliding stop, a fitting microcosm for Casey’s difficult season.
Casey didn’t start the game, despite saying on Tuesday that he was healthy enough to start to start, but Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja says Casey is in contention to start this Sunday in a must-win match against the Whitecaps.
“Conor is getting ready,” Pareja said on Tuesday. “Obviously, we are early in the week and we make final decisions by the end. But he looks good.”
With five games remaining and the Rapids still holding a mathematical chance at a playoff berth, Casey still has a chance to close the season on a high note, something the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz 05 player hopes can partially wipe away the memory of an otherwise forgettable season.
“Just try and score some goals,” Casey said of his goals for the rest of the season. “I haven’t really done it, so it’d be nice to at least finish the season with a couple.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.