When the Philadelphia Union declined to pick up the option on Conor Casey’s contract, the veteran striker’s future in Philly appeared hazy at best.


But it looks now like Casey will return to the Union for at least another season.


Shortly before Stage 1 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft Friday, Union head coach Jim Curtin told MLSsoccer.com that Casey pulled himself out of the draft to work on signing a new deal with Philly.


“There’s no contract in place right now,” Curtin said. “But we spoke on the phone and he wants to be in Philadelphia. I’m a loyal guy and I’m loyal to someone that wants to be here. We’ll have to restructure the contract. But he’s a guy that pulled himself out because he only wants to play for Philadelphia.”


Curtin said Casey understood that the Union couldn’t afford to pick up his option because “that number was a little high.” But that didn’t change Casey’s appreciation for the franchise that helped resurrect his career after a rocky end to his tenure in Colorado.



Over the last two seasons, the 33-year-old striker scored 18 goals, more than doubling his total from the previous two years with the Rapids. And Curtin still thinks he has more goals in him.


“He’s still a veteran guy that contributes goals,” the Union head coach said. “At every part of his career, he’s scored goals.”


At the same time, Curtin admitted that he would like to see Casey have more of a limited role in 2015. The Union have already brought in C.J. Sapong in a trade with Kansas City and have plans to acquire another big-time striker to complement Casey, Sebastien Le Toux and Andrew Wenger in what he hopes to be a much more balanced attacking unit.


“We can’t lean on him for 34 games,” Curtin said of Casey. “That’s been our mistake the past two seasons, where we lean too heavily and rely too hard on him and don’t have enough other people contributing. I think he’s a guy that can contribute and get goals; we just need to bring in a guy to alleviate some of that burden. And we’re going to.”


Curtin also reconfirmed his interest in possibly bringing back MLS veteran Brian Carroll on a restructured deal. But Carroll, who’s out of contract, first has to get through the second stage of the re-entry draft this Friday.


“He’s a guy that’s been a captain here and has served the club very well,” Curtin said. “We want to keep him around.”