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Conor Casey returns to Chester for first time as Colorado Rapids interim head coach

Casey and his rejuvenated Rapids side look to spoil the party in his former stomping ground

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Fans won’t be chanting about haircuts or asking him to “mess” anybody up, but Colorado Rapids interim head coach Conor Casey is sure to get a warm greeting when he enters Talen Energy Stadium tonight.

The former Philadelphia Union star had a successful three-season stint for the blue and gold with 21 goals and 8 assists in 70 appearances and an MLS and international career that included three seasons playing for Jürgen Klopp at Mainz 05 in Germany and winning MLS Cup with Colorado in 2010.

“I have good memories there, they have a great fan base and it’s good to see Jim — I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done with the club — so it will be a nice return but at the same time it’s about us and us doing our job,” Casey said in a pregame interview posted on the Rapids website.

Aside from the Rapids, he played more games for the Union than any of his other clubs over his 16-year career.

“It’s never an easy situation when you’re the interim coach,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said of his former player and friend after training on Tuesday. It’s not the way you want to come into the job, I can speak from experience on that. When you do get it — that was the text I sent him ‘enjoy it, run with it and take it as far as you possibly can. To his credit he’s really turned them around.”

After taking over the beginning of May when Anthony Hudson was fired, the Rapids have won two and lost two. The two wins in the past two weeks over LA Galaxy and the Columbus Crew were their first two of the season.

Despite their record, Curtin said the Rapids — which also have the local connection through Lancaster native and former Union defender Keegan Rosenberry — are a very dangerous team to be facing tonight for two reasons. One, there are players on the team looking to impress their new coach and two they are playing with a lot of confidence.

Casey last visited Chester in his first season as an assistant coach with the Rapids in 2017. The Union won that night 2-1.

The New Hampshire native was initially acquired by the Union in the MLS Re-Entry Draft in 2012 and ended his playing career with the Columbus Crew in 2016.

His last game in Chester as a player didn’t last long. Three minutes after coming off the bench to a round of applause from fans, he was inexplicably sent off for a terrible straight red for what was barely even a challenge on Rosenberry near the sideline.

Tonight’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. It will be broadcast live on PHL17. If you’re out of market, you can stream the game live on ESPN+ (blackout restrictions apply).

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