(by Avi Creditor soccer.si.com 1-21-14)
The UConn guys are making all sorts of history this MLS offseason.
Days after former Huskies standout Andre Blake became the first goalkeeper to be selected first overall in the MLS SuperDraft, another former UConn star, midfielder Tony Cascio, will forever be the answer to this trivia question: Who was the first player loaned within MLS?
The Colorado Rapids loaned Cascio, an attacking wide player, to the Houston Dynamo Tuesday, marking the first intra-league loan in MLS history. The player-movement mechanism was introduced last season, in an effort to get young players first-team time when their current playing situations were bleak, but no team took advantage of it. Until now.
The stipulations for players to be loaned within the league, according to MLSSoccer.com, include players having to be 24 or younger (Cascio will be 24 in March) and that the loans last through the end of the season (According to the Dynamo and Rapids, it is a year-long loan, with the Houston sending an international roster spot to Colorado).
Cascio enjoyed a successful rookie season with the Rapids in 2012, accounting for three goals and three assists in 29 games (18 starts). His playing time diminished considerably in 2013, though, as he appeared in just 13 games and played just 530 first-team minutes.
With Houston potentially losing Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia during the World Cup, Cascio offers a viable option on the wing while also adding to Houston’s overall depth. According to a Rapids spokesperson, Cascio will not be eligible to play against Colorado while on loan. The Rapids and Dynamo are due to square off on June 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“I watched him in college and his first two years with Colorado and I enjoy the way he approaches the game,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said in a team statement. “He is not afraid to take on players and he has good versatility. I think when he has the ball at his feet he is not afraid to try and be productive, whether it be an assist or a goal. With what we have coming up this year, we think he is going to be a great addition to the team.”