Conor Casey has proven himself to be more than capable at the workhorse role in his day. Unfortunately for Union fans, and Casey's knees, he just can't anymore. As we discovered in 2014, Conor Casey along with other top players just couldn't find the energy to carry the team to the postseason. Casey put the offense on his back along with Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Noguiera, and Cristian Maidana, and quite frankly they couldn't do it all. Casey's 8 goals was second on the team to Le Toux's 12, but Casey was always the focal point of the team going forward and does a terrific job doing so.
What did he do right?
Casey was the bruiser on this team and it caught up to him as the season wore down. The kind of guy Philadelphians can really get behind. I really do believe Conor carried the offense for a large chunk of the season and it showed towards the end of John Hackworth's era. With the team struggling to produce offensive, the re-emergence of Casey in late May provided a spark that was really the beginning of a terrific run of form.
Always the pinpoint of the attack, Casey was fantastic at springing a counterattack by using clever passes and strong hold up play. Mostly in Jim Curtin's system, Casey was often alone and was responsible solely for building up a quick counterattack. Casey didn't flinch and rarely made a mistake in doing so.
What did he do wrong?
There is not a single thing I could think of that Casey did not do well this season. He was the Union's muscle and brawn up top and definitely belongs in this city that values attitude and heart over skill. Not that Casey doesn't have skill as he often dazzled me with little smart touches and quick footwork for a big fella.
The only fault that can be placed on Casey is that he wasn't able to continue the pace he was on. He wore down towards the end of the season along with other starters. Not necessarily his fault, and blame can be spread among the coaching staff for not properly managing the rotation of the squad. Although even more blamed placed on the front office for not providing the coaching staff with the players to rotate the squad with more quality.
Most memorable moment
Casey's moment was in a single game but over the course of two. His back to back goal performance against Toronto in early September stands out as the moment of the year for him. As the Union needed to get at least 3 points out two games, things could not have been more tense. Casey shrugged at the challenge and relieved fears of a goalless draw in Philadelphia and following that up by delivering a powerful header in Toronto to grab 6 points out of 6.
The huge 6 point swing put the Union squarely in the playoff hunt and was a huge lift to a team heading into its first ever cup final just a week later.
Conor Casey said he was only going to play for Philadelphia and that is a grand gesture for a team that is always in the news for the wrong reasons it seems. Casey cannot carry the load unfortunately, but he will be invaluable as a squad player. His experience should be extremely useful for CJ Sapong who could gain a little attitude.