Throughout the season, Alex Caskey has been hampered by an ankle injury. Try as he might, he just couldn’t shake the nagging ache that was altering his ability to break into the regular rotation with Sounders FC.
On Sunday against the Portland Timbers, though, he returned to the form of the promising young talent that played in 20 matches in his first MLS season in 2012.
“I thought Caskey looks like the Caskey of last year. It shows how bad his ankle has been bothering him,” Seattle Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “Finally his ankle is feeling better.”
Getting the start on Sunday was a bit of a relief for Caskey, who said that he finally started feeling like himself about two weeks ago. In the end, he played 81 minutes and while his efforts couldn’t muster a victory for Seattle, it did show that Caskey is ready to contribute again for Seattle at a time when the injury bug could open up some key minutes.
“It felt good to get the opportunity after being out for so long. I just wish my return could have been with a better result,” said Caskey. “I think I’m as close to 100-percent as I’ll ever be. I felt good. My fitness is back and I’m just happy to be back out there.”
Caskey played most of the match on the left wing, adding his creative flair to the game when possible. It’s the style that led him to one goal and four assists in 1,093 minutes in 2012. He is one of seven players that have started on the left wing for Seattle this season, each providing a different approach.
Now that he is more capable of cutting and striking balls with his right foot, his capacity to contribute in that role increases.
“Being able to do those things completely comfortably was a relief for me after being out for so long,” Caskey said.
Like the team as a whole, the end result left something to be desired, but the path taken to get there left reason for optimism entering the final two matches of the season.
“I think it’s something we can build on,” Caskey said. “And it might be a blessing in disguise – to motivate us going forward in those last two games.”
Seattle will face FC Dallas in a road match on Saturday before concluding the regular season on October 27 against the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field.