The last six months have been crazy for Chicago Fire’s Dax McCarty.
The year started well, when the new head coach of USMNT, Bruce Arena, announced a shock return for Dax to the USMNT fold – for the first time since 2011 – however just a week and a bit later on the 16th January 2017, the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls agreed a trade of $400k for the Fire to acquire the Red Bulls’ captain, and much-loved fan favorite, Dax McCarty, a move that shocked everyone. No one actually thought that the Red Bulls would trade their skipper.
After his first call-up for his national side in 2009, Dax McCarty went on to make 4 appearances for USMNT between 2009 and 2011, but only made a further single appearance in next five years.
In those five years, he got traded to the New York Red Bulls from rivals DC United, became a fan favorite, got his nickname of the Ginger Ninja, won the club’s first trophy, became club captain, won the club’s second trophy, became a club legend and became the club’s all time appearance holder, but he couldn’t get the club’s first MLS Cup, and in fact in his farewell tweet to the fans, says that was his biggest regret.
His tenure as a Red Bull came to an end in January 2017, as he was traded to Chicago Fire for $400k, however, Chicago Fire are enjoying their best ever start to a MLS season. They currently lead both the Eastern Conference and the Supporters Shield. At the end of the day, part of all this is down to Dax. He’s played 15 games, 1350 minutes, he has three assists (including one at his old stomping ground, Red Bull Arena.)
His impressive form for the Fire, and the return of Bruce Arena as the national side boss meant Dax got a second chance for his country. He got called up in the January squad along with former team mates Sacha Kljestan and Luis Robles. So far, McCarty’s been in every squad. Recently Dax got awarded man of the match against Ghana with another great performance by the midfielder in that number 6 role that he plays so well.
Dax has his eyes set on a World Cup place next year, and after his man of the match performance against Ghana in an international friendly, why shouldn’t the MLS veteran aim high?
Many, maybe even Dax, couldn’t see this for the MLS veteran when he was traded two days after his wedding day, but he’s proving everyone wrong. He’s proving Jesse Marsch wrong – who thought that Dax was finished.
Who knows – by the end of the year, Dax may have won the Gold Cup with his country and the Supporters Shield with Chicago. Not many saw that on January 16th.