The Conor Casey era in Colorado has come to a close.
The Rapids announced on Friday afternoon that they have parted ways with the iconic striker by mutual agreement. They also declined to exercise options or offer new contracts to seven other players, including MLS veteran Tyrone Marshall and three 2012 arrivals: defenders Tyson Wahl and Luis Zapata, plus veteran forward Edu.
Casey, a Denver native, joined the Rapids in 2007 from Toronto FC and scored 50 goals in 121 apperances to become his hometown club's all-time leading scorer. His spell in Colorado was highlighted by the team's triumph in MLS Cup 2010, with Casey scoring the opening goal in the Rapids' 2-1 win over FC Dallas in the final.
“It was truly an honor to be able to play in front of my hometown fans and to bring a championship to Denver,” said Casey. “While I am sorry to see my time with the Rapids come to an end, I want to thank the supporters here in Colorado for everything they gave to me and the club over the last several years.”
The 31-year-old has struggled with injuries over the past two years, most notably a torn Achilles' heel in the middle of the 2011 season. He started 13 out of the 18 games he appeared in during the 2012 season, totalling two goals and three assists in 1,156 minutes.
“Conor has been an incredibly important part of the Rapids since he got here in 2007, and has forever left his mark on the club,” Rapids technical director Paul Bravo said in a statement. “He’s the Rapids’ all-time leading scorer and the MLS Cup MVP in 2010. But after having a conversation with him about his future, we all decided that it was the right time to move on.”
“Everyone at the club is grateful to Conor for his contributions on the field, but he has also been a leader in the community,” added Rapids president Tim Hinchey in the statement. “He has been a great representative of the Rapids with youth throughout Denver, and we appreciate his work to improve the lives of children and families in this area.”
Prior to his time in Colorado, Casey spent six years in the German leagues with Borussia Dortmund, Hannover, Karlsruhe and Mainz. He scored two goals in 20 appearances for the US men's national team and was part of the team that finished fourth in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
In addition to Zapata, Edu, Wahl and Marshall – fourth on the all-time MLS appearance list for outfield players with 337 games – Colorado parted ways with reserve goalkeeper Ian Joyce, defender Scott Palguta and midfielder Joseph Nane.
Casey and the other seven players will all be eligible for December's Re-Entry process.