Soccer forwards want to score. Plain and simple.
Some like to dribble around a defender, cut inside and take their best strike on goal. Others, like the Union's Conor Casey, like patiently waiting on a pass into the box from a teammate, where they can create space for an open drive towards the net.
This is the system perfected by Casey over the past two months. He's scored six goals since June 23, propelling himself into seventh in the MLS in scoring. Casey credits his teammates for making this scoring surge possible.
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"As a team in the past two months, we've had some great results and we've collectively done a really good job at putting the ball in the box," said Casey. "I really live off situations like that as a forward. I think Sebastien [Le Toux] and Sheanon's [Williams] passing have made it easy on me as a player to do my job, and that's a credit to them and our team."
Le Toux leads the league in assists with 12, while Williams sits just behind in sixth with eight. During Casey's outburst, the Union have gone 4-2-4 as a team and are just one point out of first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Union tied the Red Bulls last Saturday and picked up the franchises' first-ever point at Red Bull Arena.
"It shows how far we've come as a team this season," said Casey. "To break a lot of small milestones (like getting a point on the road against the Red Bulls) keeps our confidence high and intensity going. It would be huge for us to make the playoffs and we just have to all stay on the same page, and keep working hard on a daily basis."
With the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the rearview, the Union have had a chance to practice the past few weeks with a full roster again.
"It's great to have everyone back," he said. "It's as competitive at practice as I've ever seen in my career. There's a lot of guys who are fighting for similar positions and playing time, and I think it makes everyone on the team better when you have that."
The Union head to New England Sunday (7:30 p.m., CSN) to face the Revolution.