Combine - Tony Cascio
Andy Mead /

Combine: RSL training drill changes Cascio's perspective

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Never was a 5-v-2 soccer drill a more life-altering event.

Connecticut midfielder Tony Cascio, who is already signed to an MLS contract after completing his college eligibility, recounts the story of being in training with Real Salt Lake’s senior side a few summers back.

“There I was, stuck in the middle of a 5-v-2,” Cascio told on Friday night about the way the RSL players kept the ball away from him for an extended sequence. “They were just super smart. Not overly athletic. They didn’t look athletic.”

For Cascio, who reveals he never thought himself as MLS talent before that summer, the drill taught him a valuable lesson: “That I had to work on my mindset. You can be athletic and good, but a lot of the game is mental.”  

It represented a massive step for a player who, similar to FC Dallas’ Brek Shea, admits that he’s at best when he’s “just trying to have fun, free-minded and going at people.”

One change to his mentality that he confesses he does need to make: defending.

“My weakness is defending,” Cascio said. “I don’t like defending too much.”

He’s not lying. Fans saw his propensity to attack and push forward in the second match of the adidas MLS Player Combine on Friday afternoon, which ended in a scoreless tie. He played the entire first half and never hesitated with the ball at his feet – heading straight at goal every time he gained possession in the opponent’s half.

“Going at players, making defenders make choices, trying to create with the ball and running at people at full speed,” as Cascio described his MO. “Make things happen. I’m not trying to show anything. Just love playing soccer. If they see I love playing soccer it should make getting picked up [in the SuperDraft] easier.”

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