Monday, September 03, 2007

Is It Time For Conor Casey To Be Called-Up?

You may be thinking "Conor Casey called up to the US Men's National Team?" and I can't blame you. But that's what Kartik over at Major League Soccer is calling for, Ben Olsen and Conor Casey to be called up by the USMNT coach Bob Bradley. I don't have a problem with Olsen. I have 2 issues with Conor Casey being called up.

The first issue is the quality of play, or lack of it, that we've seen out of Casey. As Kartik states " his early play in MLS after leaving Germany earlier this year was pathetic." Why would someone call in a player that has recently played so poorly? Well, the answer in MLS talk's case was "But Casey has in the past four Colorado Rapids game completely regained his confidence, scoring two goals and contributing to several more. Casey has held off Daniel Osorno, the longtime Mexican National Team forward to keep the starting striker position with the Rapids." Where does one start? First off, Osorno came to the Rapids out of shape. He first showed up in Colorado before the 4th of July. The word on the street was that if Osorno couldn't show he was improving his fitness, he wasn't going to get a deal. More so Osorno was brought in to play on the left side of the midfield. There really hasn't been direct competition for a spot between Casey and Osorno.

Beside not wanting to take someone because they have allegedly beat out a washed up ex-Mexican national team player for a starting spot at their club (as stated, not really the case since Osorno is used as an LM), why would you want to use criteria like "did they play really well in the last 4 games?" when selecting a player for the USMNT? If that were the criteria for making the national team every American in DC United's starting 11 should be on the USMNT for the game against Brazil.

Has Conor Casey looked good the last 4 games? Yes, he has. 2 goals and an assist are great. And in a game like the one against New England he could've had another one or three. But when it comes to the US Mens National Team surely higher standards than playing well in a few games are needed. It should be ones play over a long period of time combined with their talents, skills and how they can make the USMNT as a whole better.

And that brings me to the other big issue with calling up Conor Casey at this point, the timing. Part of Casey's issues with clubs in Germany has been the timing of his call-ups. He was at a time when he was trying to establish himself at a new club and would called away for the USMNT. One time he came back from USMNT duty with a serious injury. It's hard to impress your new coach and gel with your new teammates when you're not playing even on the training pitch. And in this case Conor Casey is still relatively new to the Colorado Rapids. He's still working at getting back into shape after having some minor injury problems that have kept him out of the team. Bob Bradley, if you're reading this, just let the guy get his land legs back. Let him continue to focus on playing well for his club, learning his new teammates and most importantly staying 100% fit and healthy. Let's worry about calling him up until after this MLS season is over. Until then, just give the guy a chance to try to be healthy.

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