As Jack Mac's drought continues, Conor Casey picks up scoring slack for Philadelphia Union
In the meantime, he’s doing everything he can to make sure the Philadelphia Union don’t miss a beat offensively.
On Saturday at PPL Park, Casey scored twice to lift the Union to a 2-0 win over D.C. United. The 32-year-old striker now has nine goals on the season, which puts him tied for fifth in the league – an impressive feat when you consider he scored just twice through his first 12 games.
“I’m in a pretty good place with ten games left,” Casey said. “As a forward, you’re always wanting to score as many as you can. It’s good to have a lot of guys scoring, with Jack and myself.”
McInerney still leads the team with 10 goals but has now gone seven consecutive games without finding the back of the net.
Casey, meanwhile, has netted seven goals since McInerney’s seven-game goalless streak began on June 5, which has included braces against the team’s biggest rivals. Casey’s other two-goal outing came in a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on June 23.
“Sometimes you go through stretches where you’re doing a lot of things right but it won’t go in,” Casey said of McInerney’s drought. “But, you know, one goal changes everything and they usually come in bunches. I’m sure he’s hungry to score and it will happen soon.”
While Casey’s recent hot stretch may be taking some pressure off McInerney, the Union believe they’re at their best when the two are working together. Even before scoring goals in the first half and the second half, Union manager John Hackworth noticed how much Casey was helping McInerney and the rest of the team’s offensive players find open space against an undermanned D.C. United side.
“He scores two goals, which is fantastic,” Hackworth said. “But what he did early in that game changed the game a little bit by dropping deep in the midfield and giving us the ability to play into him and off of him.”
In addition to his nine goals, Casey has four assists on the season and has emerged as the team’s best aerial threat. And it’s been his consistent play after two injury-riddled seasons in Colorado that’s helped the Union remain in solid playoff position over the past couple of months.
“His influence on the team is second to none,” center back Amobi Okugo said. “He’s opened up space for other guys to get goals like Jack and myself, when he’s occupying the bigger bodies on corner kicks. He’s been one of the biggest components to our team.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.