With the MLS SuperDraft coming up on January 12th, Burgundy Wave is doing some miniature profiles of the players that are likely to be taken by the Colorado Rapids with their 14th overall pick in the first round. Today, we're looking at UCONN midfielder Tony Cascio.
Colorado now has a coach that comes from an offense-based position and who helped build an offensive-oriented team in FC Dallas. It's somewhat safe to say that we're going to need a little more offense around here if the Rapids are going to compete in 2012. Having nobody on the team worth more than 6 goals is simply not going to cut it. Naturally, part of the reason why nobody seemed to get consistently on the scoreboard was the glut of injuries faced, but a solid lack of offensive minds in the midfield wasn't helping matters either. In that regard, Tony Cascio from the University of Connecticut might be the best choice of anyone in the draft to join the new-look Rapids.
Cascio is the selection that WVHooligan has for the Rapids in both of his mock drafts so far, and Ives has called him the 'best pure winger in the draft'. Certainly, his resume is fairly impressive for a straight up winger. A 2010 Big East player of the year award came after ten goals scored, and though he regressed in 2011 with only five goals for himself his assists went up to eight. His points always come in some manner, and assists were at a premium for the Rapids in 2011, part of the reason why the goals were so hard to come by. All you need to look at is Jeff Larentowicz's golden boot award - with every goal coming off a free kick or penalty kick - and you'll see why service is needed sorely for Colorado. Wells Thompson can't be taking corners and free kicks if anyone is expecting them to score a goal... well, ever.
Supposedly he can also play centrally, which could be important because an ACM is the other huge midfield need for the Rapids. Dallas is known for having players that can play more than one position, Cascio fits the Pareja bill in that sense. Check out some of these goals he scored as well, the kid's got some touch on the ball from everywhere on the pitch. Great footwork and sense of where the ball is in the box as well!
I paid careful attention to Cascio during the first day of the MLS Combine, playing as #51 for the blue AdiZero team. I found him very impressive while playing right wing, in pretty much every area. He was playing box to box, even going back to defend at times which is something you like to see from an 'attacking' winger. Considering Sanna Nyassi's impossibly bad defending it would certainly be a breath of fresh air. Also unlike Nyassi, Cascio was not at all afraid to shoot even if there were men in front of him. Watching that game quickly made him my favorite draft prospect for the Rapids. #DraftTony!
Plus, just look at that hair, how can you not like a guy with that hair?