February 22, 2007 Toronto FC ready to sign Conor Casey (from Toronto Sun)
Casey's on deck
Toronto FC waits for approval
By DEAN McNULTY -- Sun Media
Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston is still waiting the arrival of Conor Casey to training camp. (File Photo)
SUNRISE. Fla. -- The wait for striker Conor Casey is entering its fourth week and the former U.S. national team player remains no closer to Toronto FC than a taxi ride from Berlin International Airport.
Toronto coach Mo Johnston has Casey signed, sealed but not yet delivered to the first year Major League Soccer squad.
The holdup is at the league office in New York, but Johnston said it is just a formality.
"He's ours," Johnston said at the team's training camp. "There's no doubt about that, we just have to be patient."
The coach would like to see Casey in a Toronto uniform March 5 when the team returns to Florida for the second stage of pre-season training.
At that point, Johnston also will have Welsh international Carl Robinson in camp.
And he can't wait to see the two hook up.
"We are team that will do a lot of attacking and Conor will fit into that plan," he said.
Johnston said Casey, at just 25, has yet to hit his prime.
"Will he get better?" Johnston said. "Definitely. I expect a lot of goals from him."
But the coach said Casey must come to Toronto with a good attitude if he is to succeed.
"He'll get the opportunity to be a much better player," Johnston said. "But he must come to camp in the right frame of mind."
Casey has spent the better part of the past two seasons with Mainz in the German Bundesliga, but injuries suffered while playing for the U.S. cost him valuable playing time.
There is little doubt, however, about his pedigree. It has been reported that a number of MLS teams were looking to sign him, but Toronto got first crack.
Johnston laughed off reports which compared Casey's play to his own as a professional.
"He's totally different," he said. "He's a bright kid, he's strong."
Johnston is looking for Casey's offensive skills to come to the forefront with Toronto.
"He has good feet for a big guy," the coach said. "I'd like to see him score more goals."
Johnston said he will use Casey in a variety of circumstances.
"One thing about having Conor is we can have him sitting on the bench and insert him into a match for 20 minutes and he is going to be a difference maker," he said.
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