Columbus Crew SC added some veteran depth to their attacking corps on Tuesday, when the club announced they’ve signed free-agent forward Conor Casey. Per league and club policy, further terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Casey, 34, has nine years of MLS experience, including time as one of the key parts of the 2010 MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids. The former US international ranks sixth among active players with 71 career regular season goals.
"We are pleased to add Conor Casey to our squad," said Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter, in a statement. "He is an MLS Cup champion and in addition to his invaluable amount of experience in this League and in Germany, Conor brings proven goal-scoring ability and a high level of soccer intelligence."
We would like to thank Conor for choosing Crew SC and we look forward to integrating him into our system immediately as we continue preseason training."
Casey spent the last three years with Philadelphia, tallying 21 goals in 70 league matches with the Union. The vast majority of those strikes came in 2013 and 2014, however, with Casey scoring just three times in 14 appearances – only two of which were starts – last season.
While he didn’t exactly have an eye-popping 2015, Casey should provide valuable depth up top for Columbus. Crew SC used Kei Kamara as a lone forward last season, with playmaker Federico Higuain and wingers Ethan Finlay and Justin Meram providing support underneath. The system worked to great effect, with Kamara finishing the season tied with Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco for the MLS lead with 22 goals and leading Crew SC to their runner-up finish at MLS Cup.
Casey is far from the most mobile striker, but he’ll provide a solid backup for Kamara (reportedly in a contract dispute with the club and nor currently with the team at their preseason camp in Florida). Crew SC are no doubt aiming Casey will fill the role vacated by departed strikers Aaron Schoenfeld and Jack McInerney, one of two players – along with Chris Klute – to be traded from Columbus to Portland in the wake of Crew SC’s MLS Cup defeat to the Timbers.