Posts Tagged ‘Dax McCarty’

Dax & Dallas To Drink From MLS Cup?

Dax the ticket to MLS glory?

FC Dallas was kind enough to get us a few minutes with midfielder Dax McCarty this week.

We wanted to interview Dax because–and as he reiterates below–with Colorado likely keying on David Ferreira in the midfield, Dax’s performance in the attack will be integral to FC Dallas raising the Cup on Sunday night.

To Dax…

TSG: Hi Dax, Matthew, The Shin Guardian, how you been? (TSG interviewed Dax during January USMNT Camp at HDC.)

Dax: Good man, I’m good.

TSG: Let’s get into it in just a sec…but first, did you watch the USMNT on Wednesday. What did you think?

Dax: Watched the whole game. It was definitely an exciting game. A lot of younger players got their first caps. I thought the US was very organized defensively and there was some pretty amazing goalkeeping by Brad Guzan.

Once Coach Bradley started to make some changes in the 2nd half, things got going. It was exciting to see the future of the national so you will get run out. And to cap it off the goal by the Agudelo kid…

TSG: Well we look forward to you floating some passes up field to Agudelo on the national scene in the future.

Dax: Oh man, I hope so.

TSG: You guys played a flat-out awesome game against Los Angeles this past Sunday. Was that the best game for Dallas on the season?

Dax: Absolutely, hands down. I don’t think we put together a more complete performance than we did against the Galaxy. The first 15 to 20 minutes we were on our back foot.

But we learned to weather storms this year.

And that’s why you have  a guy like Kevin Hartman in goal who is right up there with David Ferreira for MVP candidates in my opinion. He’s been that good for us this year in my view.

That was an incredible game to be a part of. It’s the type of game as a player that you want to play in, day in and day out.

To be able to say we beat the Supporter Shield winners in their own stadium, 3-0, is something that I won’t ever forget.

TSG: Let’s break it down a little, tactically how did you do it?

AH: Difference-maker

Dax: I think the decision to start Atiba Harris up top was a very big decision for us. Atiba I thought was outstanding. We knew that LA was a physical team and they rely heavily on set pieces.

So we had to put some size in the game and that Atiba was up top was huge in that he gave us an outlet for the guys in the midfield.

Atiba did a great job of holding th ball up. He brings others into the attack and he works his socks off. A couple of goals came directly from his work hard

And then team speed had a lot to do with it.

We’re extremely fast on the wing and we caused the Galaxy a lot of problems.

TSG: I want to be honest that I picked Los Angeles to take that game…

Dax: Oh, no problem

TSG: Well, it wasn’t that I thought Dallas didn’t have it them.

What impressed me the most was coming off a victory over RSL and beating one style of play, you faced a different style and totally shifted and dictated the tempo.

What’s the shift this week as you prepare for the Rapids?

Dax: We’re a team that is honestly able to play a number of ways. We have veterans with a lot of experience that know how to adapt to the game.

We have a number of different players and we can shift a little to address different types of teams and different types of players.

But, we don’t change up how we approach the game.

We like to possess the ball and attack. And then…hit teams on the counter.

Our team speed on th counterattack you would have to say is the best in the league.

For Colorado, to be completely honest, we just finished the first day of training and today (Wednesday) was more about getting a run out and the legs loose.

Not too much tactical on the session today.

I’m sure once we get to Toronto, we’re going to start working on that.

TSG: Let’s take a shot at it, the tactics…something that I’ve heard a lot this week…well the midfield of Colorado is getting a lot of press. The common statement I hear is “teams don’t like facing the Rapids’ midfield because Pablo and Jeff specifically, will wear you down defensively.”

What does the Dallas midfield have to do against Colorado’s?

Dax: Yeah, well, let’s give them all the credit in the world; they’re two top quality players.

Mastroeni: Doing what he does best...

Pablo’s been doing it for a number of years and has been a tremendous national team player. Jeff ‘s been on the national team also and did a great job in New England before Colorado.

One of things they do so well is have the disciple to complement each other. When one goes forward, the other always stays back and vice versa.

The first thing we have to do is match their physicality.

They are very good at disrupting how we’re going to want to play.

We’re also going to have  to move the ball through the midfield quickly and find the feet of David Ferreira very early.

They’ll be keying in on stopping so it’s my job to be very involved in the attack and provide an outlet for Daniel Hernandez from the back.

TSG: Colorado’s arguably got the best forwards in the league. Do you play an extremely high defensive line against them and take chances with the over the top ball to a guy like Cummings or do you sit back, pack it in a bit more and try to disrupt their attack that way?

Dax: We’re probably going to come out like we do most games with a high line, high pressure and high-pressing attack.

If they get space in the midfield, then they’ll be able to pick out Casey and Cummings, to of the best forwards in the league.

You can definitely expect to see us with high pressure and deny their forwards service. That’s critical.

TSG: What’s the so-dubbed “X factor” that the media is missing in this one?

Dax: You know, I really think the defenses for both teams are going to have the biggest say in the one.

Obviously Kevin Hartman’s been getting great press and rightfully so. He’s been the leader of a backline that has been tremendous for us all year. We’ve had injuries, players in and out of the line-up and young guys back there…but our defense has been outstanding.

And then you look on the other side of it. Drew Moor–whose a good friend–has been really good as has Marvell. You could say they’ve had a good run largely do to how well they’ve played in the back.

TSG: Thanks so much Dax for the time on tactics. Any special preparations for a championship match on game day?

Dax: Not going to change a thing; I’m not superstitious. Game day is pretty easy. Sleep in, more rest in the morning, light breakfast, relax, walk around Toronto and shake my legs.

Have lunch, take a nap between the pre-game meal.

And once game time comes, I’ll take a shower to wake myself up, put on my head phones and start  focusing on the game.

Sam Adams who?

TSG: Okay, last question, and we’ve got to follow-up with this. Some good friends at TSG, the Die Hipster Brewing Company, made a Dax McCarty Pale Ale that we delivered to you. They loved it so much they made “Dax II” earlier this year…..

Dax: That’s awesome. That’s fantastic news.

TSG: So they wanted to–did you like it? And what can they do with the next version.

Dax: Definitely liked it. You gave me the beer after the  national team camp in January. I couldn’t drink it then, but was able to a few weeks later.

Really did enjoy it . Very good, hearty beer.

You know, I’d love to see this explored into something I can start putting out to all my friends and more people.

And if you got some extra cases, my parents would love it as well. Pretty cool thing to have a beer named after you.

TSG: Well the guys and I think a Dax McCarty Celebration Ale may be in store for the holidays…and Sunday night.

Dax: Oh man….

TSG: Thanks so much for your time Dax. We always enjoy talking to you. People should know you’re a very affable, gregarious guy and your always great to speak with.

Dax: Aw man I appreciate it. Make sure you root for FC Dallas.

TSG: That’s our pick for the Final.

Dax: Awesome.

Dax McCarty…ready to celebrate….

_______________

Up next: Macoumba Kandji from the Colorado Rapids….

Interview: Dax McCarty, The New Ginger Ninja

We can see "The Red Arrow," But TSG is going "Ginger Ninja"

Shaun dropped the Ginger Ninja reference on Paul Scholes last week and I couldn’t help but think it was a most-fitting reference for perhaps the most affable member of the USMNT January camp, Dax McCarty.

For those that are not privy to the goings on of the shifty midfielder, Dax McCarty made an impact with FC Dallas in 2007. Having joined the team the year before after casting aside his senior year at North Carolina, Dax–we just can’t call him “McCarty” in this interview–registered 10 assists and 1 goal in 18 starts and 10 sub appearances for the Hoops.

Known for his ability to move the ball quickly and move with the ball quickly, McCarty registered his first senior cap just this past November coming on for Michael Bradley in the 2nd half of the national team’s friendly with Slovakia.

TSG had the occasion to spend some time with Dax McCarthy after a rigorous practice during January camp. In fact, as seniority goes, we believe, Dax was the last in line for us and he was waiting patiently for us to finish our interviews.

We couldn’t have asked for a more forthcoming person.

Dax getting tall for the USMNT

While we swore to ourselves we’d avoid the angles of stature and hair color in this piece, there’s no avoiding it.

Scholes

With the hair color, the skills, and his ability to be a two-way player in the middle of the pitch, it is only fitting that TSG requests that the pride of FC Dallas be the rightful heir to the Ginger Ninja moniker once Paul Scholes playing days are through.

More on Scholes, nicknames, and another redhead, Alexei Lalas, as we converse with the extremely personable Mr. McCarty:

TSG: Hey, nice job on that eye exam?

(McCarty was featured taking an eye exam in a clip from US Soccer.)

Dax: Yeah, I missed one. Got a 20/15.

TSG: We were trying to arrange to bring an eye chart down here. That read “I dig The Shin Guardian” in descending order.

Dax: Ha.

TSG: Okay, let’s get started. Spanish nickname, Irish surname, born in Florida. Do you consider yourself a “global” soccer player?

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Preview: Not Quite October 10th, But We’ll Take It

Good day and welcome to our USMNT-Honduras preview for this Saturday.

Coach USA congratulating the king before he assumed the throne four days later...

Beyond the visage of Jonathan Bornstein and Conor Casey taking the pitch for the home side Saturday, the match is nearly inverse in all ways to the nervous match that sent the States to the World Cup Finals later this year.

TSG will focus almost exclusively on the USMNT here in this preview as the side that Honduras is bringing is not immediately clear.

What we do know is that the first half should show some high quality competitive soccer, and the 2nd half as substitutions are introduced, might drop a notch in quality, but should be no less competitive.

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Day 2 In Carson At The USMNT Training Camp

The USMNT in Carson worked on a little one-touch passing to start the day.

Check out our first day in camp….

TSG spent a second day at US Soccer Camp in Carson. Training was shorter today and included one-touch passing, crossing, possession and scoring drills as well as a shortened-field scrimmage.

  • Sitting today’s practice out were Marcus Tracy (who has since been sent back to Denmark), Chris Pontius, Robbie Rogers, Kevin Alston (who did a lot more running again) and Justin Braun. (I was told Geoff Cameron was sitting out by US Soccer, but the USMNT Blog on USSoccer.com does not mention him. As a result, however, I didn’t look for Geoff on the field nor did I notice him.)
  • Insightful instruction from Bob Bradley to the troops this morning. Bradley cautioned the defense on not rushing to close out offenders if it will result in a big gap in the defense. Rather, pursue enough to slow down the attack without committing to allow the rest of the team to get back and fill in. If I recall correctly, the USMNT may have taken this advice too far in the El Salvador last September when they were noticeably hanging back instead of closing out near the area.
  • Omar Gonzalez continued to look strong. His ball pursuit was impressive and he used his body well to shield and maintain possession.
  • Robbie Findley had a gorgeous strike to the top right corner that beat Zach Thornton during the scrimmage. Findley found himself with one defender between him and Thornton, cut back right towards the middle pitch and launched a rocket. At the conclusion of practice Findley remained on the field to work on some left-footed shooting versus the stable of US keepers.
  • Dax McCarty was very active today in the mid-field and won some balls through pure hustle and determination. His goal in the scrimmage somehow snuck between Hartman and the post. (see below)

Yes, this ball goes in the goal.

A few commenters have asked what is was like to be at camp. Obviously, seeing such high quality soccer at the field level and having the opportunity to hear what Bradley is barking to players during practice is a treat. But more importantly, seeing the work the team puts in and spending a few minutes with some of the players reminds us why we do what we do and helps connect to the human side of team and players we discuss every day.

As a bonus, upon returning to San Diego late this afternoon, TSG’s tickets for the Honduras match were waiting in my mail box.

The True MLS MVP (Most Valuable Pale)

Note from TSG: Late last week, Mark and I got into a little tiff on beers…and thus our Beer & Soccer Review Series was born.

TSG is kicking off the series with a kick*ss piece from Die Hipster Brewing Co.

Die Hipster is a San Francisco miniature-brew founded by my Black Sox soccer teammate Chris Hanson and Scott Riley. I’ve had their beer and all I can say is, “Tasty!” and “Arrange transportation beforehand.”

Who is the real MLS MVP?

So without further adu, Die Hipster Brewing and their take on MLS MVP.

—-

In deference to the upcoming MLS Cup,  Die Hipster Brewing is proud to introduce and announce the results of the 1st Annual MLS MVP (Most Valuable Pale).  We at Die Hipster have been brewing for years and have attempted many styles – from  the dull catenaccio of a partial mash ale to the Totaalvoetbal of an imperial bourbon porter.  In the process, we’ve all but completely overlooked pale ales, much like most of the globe has overlooked MLS.  To remedy this, we spent the summer producing three MLS-themed pale ales in the lead-up to an eventual group judging event to determine an MVP.

Our candidates were chosen based on their sheer “MLSness” (not to mention their paleness).

Riles & Hanson: Dropping science

These three beers are named for three of the hardest working MLS semi-stars whose play has earned them a few appearances for the USMNT but scant European interest and only, it seems, from the Scandinavian part of the continent, which will work doubly in their favor when the Minnesota Thunder finally get their MLS franchise.  In the meantime, their current MLS squads are happy to have them.

In creating recipes, we kept within pale ale style guidelines, but went for three different grain mixtures.  We used the same yeast (similar to Sierra Nevada’s) for all three.  The goal was nothing too crazy or involved, just serviceable pale ales that will do the job without wanting to make real money (read: euros) or get identified on the streets of America.

The Eddie Gaven

The first selection, we went with Eddie Gaven. To get ourselves in Eddie’s mindset, we channeled our inner Eddie Gaven and in a specific nod to Gaven’s highly respected and publicized devote and pious nature, we asked ourselves not “WWJD?”, but, with the holidays approaching, “What Would Jesus….Brew?!”

As a result, Gaven’s beer was a fairly basic but a little heavier on the hop schedule – Gaven’s game, after all, is nothing if not bitter – along with some dry-hopping to finish it off.  The result was a pretty robust pale that could be mistaken for an IPA in some circles. Not bad for the player who was the youngest to score for the, uh, MetroStars and sports that stubbly beard. Is that perma-stubble-plus?

The Kyle Beckerman

The second selection went to Kyle Beckerman.  Beckerman’s beer had a healthy dose of malt, owning the appropriate moniker ‘Special B’.

Unfortunately, an eighth-inch log of his hair proved difficult to procure in Sandy, UT.  This one was also dry-hopped and the ‘Special B’ livened up the overall flavor profile – almost like marking said shorter dude who hasn’t washed his hair in 15 years.

The Dax McCarty

The last selection was Mr. Dax McCarty.  In our best deadpan, Dax’s beer had to stand out from the pack.  To accomplish this, we replaced specialty grains with malted grains and flaked wheat.  The result was a much lighter and drinkable pale that we hope will make an appearance in the 72nd minute in a Friendly possibly against Slovakia.  And….wait, yes that just happened.  Pretty sure Slovakia’s Martin Skrtel is the only Slovakian player who has ever faced a red head on the field (Scholes) before Dax danced his way on.  Sadly the Dax pale was neither made with nor tasted like Ginger.

The Victor

So who won?  The same player that could also be the MLS Cup MVP:  Kyle Beckerman by the length of one of his dreads (read: in a malodorous landslide).  There were only a small percentage of votes cast for Eddie and Dax.  While we also voted for Beckerman, Dax has grown on us quite a bit and is a session pale we were really looking for.

Since our brewery is not a democracy, next summer, Dax will be made again. Perhaps just in time for his cameo in South Africa?

We’ll need nominations for two new challengers to get called up to participate in the 2nd annual MLS Most Valuable Pale. Please nominate below in the poll or the comments.

For more information on Die Hipster Brewing and the MLS Most Valuable Pale recipes.

From TSG: A sincere thanks to Chris and Scott for the good read. If anyone has any questions, about such things as oh “beer” and/or “procurement,” please email shinguardian@gmail.com and we’ll bundle up the emails, float the pigeon and get you a response.

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