From longshot to mainstay

From longshot to mainstay

Alex Caskey has started all five matches in the team's recent 15-day stretch, while adding one goal and four assists in 16 MLS appearances.

Alex Caskey was somewhat of a longshot to make the Sounders FC roster going into training camp this year.

A third-round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft (47th overall), Caskey was coming off of a solid but not spectacular season with the Charleston Battery in the USL-Pro.  However, his consistent play in the preseason changed things dramatically.

Now, well into his first MLS campaign, he has displayed just how dramatic that change has been, highlighted by starting all five Sounders matches in the recent grueling 15-day stretch, scoring his first MLS goal in a 4-0 win over the LA Galaxy.

“It’s definitely something I didn’t expect, but I’m happy that it’s happened,” Caskey said.  “I can’t rest on my laurels at this point.  I’ve got to keep trying to get even more time and substantiate my place on the team.”

With a deep and talented midfield group, minutes appeared to be limited for Caskey at the outset. Yet that didn’t hold back the product of North Carolina’s Davidson College, who continuously fought for more playing time.

In his first MLS start on April 14 against the Colorado Rapids, he assisted Zach Scott’s first MLS goal, finding the veteran defender with a corner kick late in the match for the winner.  On July 28, he would again haunt the Rapids, picking up the secondary assist on a game-winning goal from Osvaldo Alonso.

That would precede his special night on August 5 against the Galaxy.  With over 60,000 fans at CenturyLink Field and a national television audience, Caskey vigorously attacked a ball that was knocked clear by goalkeeper Josh Saunders and launched a left-footed shot into the open net for his landmark goal.

Being in position for that chance was more than just being in the right place at the right time, though.

“He’s an alert player.  He has quick feet and a good mind and he competes,” Schmid said.  “He’s worked hard and he’s one of those guys that has had to work hard every day and stayed to do extra work.  He’s worked hard every day to show what he can do.”

Beyond the goal-scoring glory, there was another reason that it was a memorable night for Caskey – it was the first time his parents had seen him play in Rave Green.

“They have been supporting me as long as I’ve been playing soccer and it meant so much to do well and show them that it’s all been worth it.  It was a special moment to finally have them there,” he said.  “It was incredibly exciting, especially in front of 60,000 fans and against a good team that we needed to get points against.”

He has now appeared in 16 MLS matches for the Sounders, starting 11 while adding one goal and four assists.  He also had one goal and one assist on Seattle’s run to their fourth consecutive US Open Cup final.

In recent weeks, Seattle has added midfielders Christian Tiffert and Mario Martinez.  However, if his time with the Sounders FC is any indication, he won’t give up the playing time too easily.

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