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UConn In MLS: Cascio Continues Strong Season

Could he be Major League Soccer's top rookie?
UConn Huskie's mascot with both arms up.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 03: Jonathan the Husky, mascot for the Connecticut Huskies, performs against the Oregon State Beavers in the second quarter during the semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Women's Final Four Basketball Championship at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Colorado Rapids struggled on Wednesday in a 2-0 loss at DC United, but rebounded with a strong second half showing on Saturday to complete a 2-2 comeback draw against Sporting Kansas City. Despite dropping five of a possible six points, the Rapids were given two more strong outings from former UConn forward Tony Cascio.

Cascio has been one of Major League Soccer's top rookies all season, along with DC United midfielder Nick DeLeon and New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara. This week was no different.

There were no additional statistics for Cascio, as the Rapids were blanked on Wednesday and he did not figure into either goal on Saturday. He took a total of five shots over the two games, but none found the net as he remains on two goals for the season and has not scored in the last four matches.

The offensive attack, a loaded arsenal consisting of Cascio, Kamani Hill, Omar Cummings, Conor Casey, and Jose Castrillon, is hardly the reason why the Rapids are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 16 points. Defense is where the struggles have come for Colorado. If the opportunity arises where Colorado can make a move on AC Milan legend Alessandro Nesta, who is said to be interested in finishing his career in MLS, it is a move the Rapids should try to make. However, considering that MLS is a single-entity structure and teams don't have the ability to negotiate player contracts, that opportunity may not exist.

Colorado will take the week off and return to action on May 26 when they take on expansion side Montreal at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Colorado.

Elsewhere, there is still no action to report on UConn's other alumni in MLS. Julius James has yet to play for Columbus Crew this season after playing a key role in the back last year. Lung issues kept him out to start the season and may keep him out for the time being. Expect to see him return at some point before the MLS All Star Break in July.

Josh Ford is still dealing with a nagging knee injury. According to transfermarkt.de, which specializes in analyzing footballers around the world, Ford will be available to play on June 15. However, Ford may have to fight to show he deserves to even be on the bench, as Bryan Meredith and Michael Gspurning have combined on the goalkeeping duties this year, totaling five clean sheets in eleven matches. Meredith has been playing throughout May as Gspurning has been dealing with a right hip injury, which he should be nearly recovered from.

(Photo Courtesy of Tim Fontenault)