May 14 2010, 8:24 AM
The official announcement of the U.S. soccer national team roster for the upcoming World Cup in South Africa came down Tuesday, and south Denver soccer star Conor Casey was one of several notable stars left off the list (full roster via ESPN). This is the same Casey that scored two goals with the national team against Honduras last October to secure a U.S. World Cup berth, but his three goals so far during the Major League Soccer season this year seem like they've held him back. Even though Casey was keeping low expectations, he tells The Denver Post, "It's a disappointment." And that's about all he said about the situation. The Post notes that the Rapids have put players on the last three U.S. World Cup teams: defender Marcelo Balboa in 1998, and defenseman Pablo Mastroeni in 2002 and 2006. Casey probably lost his spot to Edson Buddle, named after legendary soccer star Pele (whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, according to ESPN). Buddle, who plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy, is among the MLS's hottest scorers this year, with nine goals, which probably swayed U.S. national coach Bob Bradley despite Buddle's limited national team experience. Colorado Rapids coach Gary Smith defended Casey, implying that he has a much higher opinion of Casey than Bradley does. "A tad surprised, I'd have to say," Smith tells the Post. "But we all have our opinions on players, and the national manager obviously has his."