Casey plays waiting game

Toronto FC continues to wait for MLS approval on Conor Casey. (Sun Media/Michael Peake)

Toronto FC continues to wait for MLS approval on Conor Casey. (Sun Media/Michael Peake)

DEAN McNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

United States international Conor Casey is enjoying his pre-season workouts with Toronto's freshly minted Major League Soccer side but he would like to be able to stick around with his new mates for the rest of the year.

Since the team announced its intention to sign the 25-year-old Denver native, who has played the past two seasons with FSV Mainz in the German Bundesliga, Casey has been in a sort of soccer limbo.

MLS requires that new player signings first be given a green light at the league's New York headquarters.

RULE

MLS has an allocation rule which allows any team which missed the playoffs in the previous year to get the first shot at any new players coming into the league.

As an expansion team, Toronto is No. 1 on the MLS list.

Toronto coach Mo Johnston said since there are no other teams in that position, getting Casey officially on board should be a formality.

The league, however, has delayed making a decision on Casey's future for reasons known only to it.

Yesterday as the team practised at the University of Toronto, Casey said he is starting to get a little impatient at the protracted nature of the MLS signing rule.

"I am a little bit frustrated," Casey said. "I have signed a contract with the league. I'm just waiting for them to make it official up here (in Toronto)."

Johnston won't speak on the record about the league's delay in allowing Casey to become part of the team, saying he is happy to have the 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward practising with the club.

Casey said he is working on the assumption that everything will work out and he will be playing for Toronto in the season-opener April 4 in California against Chivas USA.

"I'm enjoying the training and getting to know my new teammates," Casey said.

"I'm excited about the prospect of playing for a brand new club. We have a good bunch of guys."

Casey, who has been victimized by the injury bug since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in 2005, said he is feeling good.

He played every minute of scrimmage yesterday and said he felt no ill effects.

"I know it's going to be hard work," Casey said.

"But it's going to be fun with a team that's starting from scratch.

NOTES

Fourth-round draft pick Jeffrey Gonsalves of Markham was back with Toronto FC yesterday, hoping to catch the eye of coaches who will determine which players will accompany the team back to Florida next week for the final pre-season practices ... Tongolese forward Abbe Ibrahim still is working on getting his visa issues cleared up and will not participate in this week's Toronto sessions.


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