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Union select Conor Casey in Re-entry Draft

Photo: Courtesy of MLS

On Friday, the Philadelphia Union selected Conor Casey in stage 2 of the Re-entry Draft.

Casey became available for selection after being released by Colorado Rapids on Nov. 16. In his last season at Colorado he made $400,000 in guaranteed compensation.

The Union now have seven days to make an offer to Casey. Should the offer be turned down, the Union still retain right of first refusal.

The University of Portland product began his professional career with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund in 2000. The four years he spent with Dortmund included loan spells with Hannover 96 and Karlsruhrer. In 2004 he was signed by Mainz. After struggling to find playing time as he coped with injuries, Casey returned to MLS. Originally acquired by Toronto, he was quickly traded to Colorado where he scored 52 goals over 119 appearances. He won the MLS Cup with Colorado in 2010 when he was named Cup MVP.

Of note to Union fans was Toronto’s pick in the Re-entry draft, former Union captain Danny Califf.



  1. If this guy with bad knees does anything other than sit on the bench and come in when we need to punt it up for a last ditch goal, then this is a terrible, terrible move.
    I was afraid of something like this when Le Toux came back – since Le Toux doesn’t fulfill the target man need I thought we would bring in someone else – and lo and behold we bring in someone who is going to suck away minutes from Jack Mac.
    This is basically 2011 all over again, when a promising duo of Mwanga/LT was brutally murdered by the inclusion of Ruiz, putting a wall in front of Mwanga’s development that he never recovered from.
    Hopefully his already bad knees give out on him, so Jack can get the starter spot + minutes he both deserves and also needs to get better.

    • Philly Cheese says:

      Agreed on your comment. Also, not sure how this gives Hoffman much encouragement for fighting to get on pitch either. Everyone has to earn a start through competition, but if Union even pay 60% of 2012, it will be pricey risk for making an impact in goal scoring requirement. Does Casey have teaching/mentoring skills that are going to develop Jack Mac/Hoffman/Hoppenot into more skilled players?

    • I tend to disagree — I really don’t expect that Le Toux and Casey will be our prime forward combination. It’s going to be Le Toux and Jack Mac, with Casey, Hoffman, and Hoppenot rotating in for a run of starts / in case of injury / depending on who’s in top form. Hackworth has made it quite clear how much he values McInerney.

      Also, Casey is a better soccer player than Ruiz, and his skillset is different. I remember watching him bulldoze our back line repeatedly at a game in 2010, dude is a big, physical presence. I like the depth we have now at forward and defense.

    • I’m with Pete. I think Casey is here for spot starts and occasional needed muscle, not to be an every-game 90-minute player. Hackworth > Nowak on that regard. The starting job will still be McInerney’s. But it will be great to have veteran options to go to for suspensions/midweek games/beating up Lenhart/a bad run of form for McInerney/beating up Lenhart/etc.

      • I don’t know. It seems pretty crazy to bring in a high priced player who fulfills a specific need the club hasn’t addressed yet only to not play him.

        So I am thinking a crazyhouse 4-3-3?

    • Brutally murdered? I think it’s time for someone to turn down the settings on their hyberbolic chamber.

  2. As long as he doesn’t take minutes away from Jack I’m on board with this. He offers something different – size and strength – that is currently lacking in our crop of forwards. I see him as a Plan B (or C) off the bench and occasional spot starter, and in that role I think he can potentially bring some value to this team. We’ll see.

  3. How is this a bad move? The Union were pitiful in the air last year and it cost us many points. Having someone late in the game to help on set pieces would certainly help out. Could also see a 4-3-3 at times, with Seba and Jack on the wings. We aren’t paying him the 400k relax guys. That’s why we waited for Re-Entry round 2.

  4. So to all the people opposed: you would rather have a central/south american with no MLS experience come in and try to provide a “veteran presence?”

    Relax, Hackworth knows what he’s doing here and this is a pick where you know what you are getting (of course I’m not including the injury uncertainty).

  5. Assuming that his salary will be within reason for a proven MLS forward ($150-180k), this is a good move. Casey gives us a skill set that we don’t have with our current striker pool. The ability to hold the ball up under pressue as well as win some aerial duels are really important skills that he brings to the table.

  6. The guy is injury prone. Don’t know about this move. They are taking a chance. All that talk about going after a big striker signing and nothing as yet. Disappointing.

  7. I like jack but I am not sure how anyone would think that he is going to be the next great striker. I have yet once to see him turn someone and score. Yet to see a great strike from he top of the 18. Yet to see any real holdup play. Look he was the best striker and not that much better than hoppenot on a team bereft of any ir repeat any real talent up top. Again I like him but he is not Lionel messi wanting for playing time. Not Fernando Torres or dicier drag a buried on the bench. He’s a player with promise and talent that with good coaching, playing time and role models may turn out to be a fine player by American standards. Casey will give us a lot of options and I have more faith in him dinged up than I did with pajoy or Ruiz or perlaza etc. he will be a good role model and great depth on a team bereft of a confident hold up and aerial threat.

  8. Slightly off topic. How big a bouquet of flowers did the Union send to Toronto for taking Danny Califf first in the draft. Instead of a few weeks of them answering questions as to why they did/didn’t select him in the draft they get to throw up their hands and say Toronto took him first what could we do!

    • Yeah seriously. As much as I like Califf (and wouldn’t mind seeing him back here eventually with the technical staff) I was so relieved when they picked him first. I also think he could possibly do some good there; I’ve been feeling pretty bad for Toronto.

  9. Danny Califf is not a very good player. Okugo was superior to him in every facet of the game, although I hope he moves to CDM now that we have Parke.

  10. I think that this move allows a series of options for Hack that allow game planning that wasn’t available before. Always assuming that injury doesn’t take the decision for him, he can put height (Le2 and Casey), a mix (Le2 and Mac, Le2 and Hop, Casey and either), pests (Mac and Hop) or muscle and banging in the box (Casey and Mac) out there. With the card issues that Mac has encountered at times, it is great to have the wealth of options that Hackworth seems to have facing him. This is where we actually see whether Hack has the chops for game planning that I think he can bring to the field. Should be fun to watch.

  11. Only A Few Major Holes Left says:

    With LeToux, Casey, Jack, Hoppenot, Hoffman and Cruz around, it’s clear that Hack wants the 4-3-3 to be the club’s default alignment. OK. That’s a nice top three, a buzzing jolt, and two guys who can fill in for injury, fatigue, etc.

    But I want to talk about the back seven. At the back, I really like the plan, if we get a left back or two. Remember, we will likely miss Valdes (WC Qualifying) and Williams (A team is qualifying, so they likely will use the U-25s for Gold Cup) for a chunck of the season. So keeping Parke, Soumary, Valdes, Williams and Gaddis to staff three spots makes sense.

    CDM will be Carroll/Okugo (also likely a Gold Cup call up) for one season until Carroll moves on. If they can move Carroll, I can live with Lahoud as a fine backup to Okugo.

    We need two offensive midfielders. But who? Marfan, Garfan, Torres, Keon. Adu?!@?! My preference is for the Farfans and Torres to battle it out. But I think another option better than Adu, or a dropped back forward, makes sense. Or does Okugo move into a box-to-box role?

    Yes, we need left backs, and a backup keeper. But settling down Marfan’s partnership in midfield will also be essential.

  12. I like the addition of Casey. As others have noted- he fulfills the U’s biggest need- size and grit up front. Hope he is healthy and will sign for under 225k, because a front three of Jack, Casey and Le2 gets me excited.

  13. James Korman says:

    I love the moves. I was very, very concerned that we were going to stand pat. So many of our moves last year looked like salary dumps. I had low expectations for this off season… I was so WRONG!

    Coach Hack is plugging in proven players with experience. Casey, Parke, and LeToux are all warriors. We can score and defend on the ground or in the air for a change! I am so psyched right now! This is great!

    Go Union…!!!

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