WASHINGTON – For the very first time in his MLS career, D.C. United midfielder Dax McCarty will line up against FC Dallas, his team for the first five years in the league.
Left unprotected in last fall’s Expansion Draft 24 hours after Dallas finished as runners-up in MLS Cup, McCarty eventually made his way to the nation’s capital via trade, after being picked by the Portland Timbers.
With many friends still on FC Dallas, it’ll be a unique experience for the 24-year-old getting to play against so many familiar faces (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET; Watch online for FREE).
“For me personally, it’ll be a little bit of strange feeling playing against those guys,” McCarty said after Friday’s training session. “They’re good friends of mine, like brothers to me, and I’m still good friends with most of them. It’ll be a little bit of a weird feeling, but that’s expected playing against your old team.”
While the game may feel a bit different than other matchups, McCarty looks to focus on the team he now leads and captains. Saturday’s match is a chance for D.C. United to win their second league game in a row, an achievement that has eluded the club since June 2009.
And with McCarty now playing in a DC uniform, he can help give a few tips on how to deal with some of FCD’s players. According to United midfielder Chris Pontius, McCarty was very forthcoming about his old mates during a Friday film session.
“He was very chatty because he knows everything about them, obviously,” Pontius recounted. “He knows how to break them down, which is good for us.”
One player who won’t be a threat is the reigning league MVP David Ferreira. The Colombian suffered a broken ankle a couple of weeks ago against Vancouver, and underwent surgery earlier this week.
“He’s a very big piece to that team, as he would be to any team,” McCarty said. “He’s obviously the MVP of the league for a reason, and was a big part of our success last year and a big part of their success in general. It’s a big loss for them – he changes the dynamic of the team, everything pretty much goes through him attacking-wise.”
Still, DC will be wary of a number of dangerous attacking players FC Dallas have, including Ferreira’s replacement Eric Avila, Fabián Castillo and Brek Shea. McCarty is looking forward to being reunited with them, but knows that once they step on the field, it’s business as usual.
“It’ll be fun to see them,” he said, “but once we step on the field, it’s all business, and you have no friends. I’m looking to get three points.”