Rapids expecting more from Cascio in sophomore season

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona-born Tony Cascio tried to prepare his Rapids teammates for the weather he grew up with in the lead-up to their first match of the 2013 preseason, Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Portland in the Desert Friendlies. But the Copper State’s climate didn’t quite cooperate.

"I was telling the guys it would be nice and warm," the Colorado midfielder told MLSsoccer.com after the windy preseason match. "But it's kind of a little chilly."

Cascio hopes to get hot sooner rather than later in his second season for the Rapids, one where more will be expected of him now that team veterans like Jeff Larentowicz and Connor Casey have moved on to other teams.

Check out Tony Cascio's player profile page here

"Most of the core group is still here," he said. "A lot of the guys I've played with before. It's going to be a fun and exciting year."

Cascio's rookie season was brighter than most, with 29 appearances for the first team. He also managed three goals, the first of which came against Philadelphia in only his second appearance.

"Tony had a good year in 2012," said Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja. "At this point, we are expecting him to be more mature. He can start stepping up and move his game to the next stage. This is a responsibility of us as coaches and him as an individual."

Cascio agreed, saying, "It's always one day at a time. I love the game. I want to work harder and make the team better."

His goals for the year?

"More minutes, more goals, more assists."

Colorado continue their preseason activities on Thursday with a Desert Friendlies match against the Houston Dynamo (8 pm ET, live on MLSsoccer.com).

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.