The post season clear out has begun at Colorado Rapids and it became their equivalent of the ‘night of the long knives’ today.
Eight players are being released including high profile striker Conor Casey who is leaving by mutual agreement.
“Conor has been an incredibly important part of the Rapids since he got here in 2007, and has forever left his mark on the club,” said Technical Director Paul Bravo in a club release.
“He’s the Rapids’ all-time leading scorer and the MLS Cup MVP in 2010. But after having a conversation with him about his future, we all decided that it was the right time to move on.”
Club President Tim Hinchey added:
“Everyone at the club is grateful to Conor for his contributions on the field, but he has also been a leader in the community. He has been a great representative of the Rapids with youth throughout Denver, and we appreciate his work to improve the lives of children and families in this area.”
The Rapids will not exercise contract options or will decline to offer new contracts to seven others Edu, Ian Joyce, Tyrone Marshall, Joseph Nane, Scott Palguta, Tyson Wahl, and Luis Zapata.
Casey himself wanted to thank the supporters:
“It was truly an honor to be able to play in front of my hometown fans and to bring a championship to Denver. While I am sorry to see my time with the Rapids come to an end, I want to thank the supporters here in Colorado for everything they gave to me and the club over the last several years.”
Casey, 31, was traded to the Rapids in 2007 after six years playing professionally in Germany and just two matches with Toronto FC. With Colorado, the forward scored 50 goals in 121 games, as well as a goal in the Rapids’ 2-1 win over FC Dallas in MLS Cup 2010, where he was named the match’s MVP.
The Denver native had 16 goals in 2009 and 13 in 2010, but was limited due to injuries in the last two seasons, scoring twice and adding three assists in 18 games (13 starts) during 2012.
The club’s press release continued with Bravo thanking the others;
“As we move forward and prepare for 2013, we’ve had to make many difficult decisions, which means several players won’t be returning for next season.
Players like Tyrone, Scott, Joseph, and Ian have contributed over the last few years and brought great professionalism to our club. Luis and Tyson were here only during this past season, and were valuable parts of the team both on and off the field. We would like to wish all of these players the best in the future.”
Marshall, 38, was drafted by the Rapids in1998, playing one match with Colorado before a midseason trade, finally returning to the club in 2011. With five MLS teams, the defender has played in 337 regular season games, fourth in MLS history among field players.
Zapata, a 32-year-old left back from Cali, Colombia, joined the Rapids in preseason and played 27 matches in 2012 (starting 26), notching one assist.
Palguta, 30, joined the Rapids in 2009, playing 50 games (30 starts) in four seasons with Colorado. He scored two goals for the team, both game-winners in 2011, and made two appearances in the 2012 season.
Nane, 25, joined the Rapids in a trade with Toronto FC before the 2011 season, and made a total of 19 appearances with the club (eight starts), scoring one goal.
Joyce, a 27-year-old goalkeeper who had played for several clubs in England before joining the Rapids in 2010, made one regular season appearance for the club, keeping a clean sheet on August 28, 2010 against the Houston Dynamo.
Wahl, 28, has played in MLS since 2006 and came to the Rapids midway through 2012 in a trade with the Montreal Impact. He played four matches for Colorado, all starts, notching one assist.
Luis Eduardo “Edu” Schimidt, 34, played nine matches (three starts) for Colorado after signing with the club in April.