HARRISON, N.J. — The move to bring in Dax McCarty to the Red Bulls is an “option that made sense to us,” sporting director Erik Solér told reporters on Tuesday night. The shock trade that sent McCarty to the Red Bulls in exchange for Dwayne De Rosario sent ripples through the league and the team.
According to multiple reports, the swapping of De Rosario and McCarty was in the works for weeks and the move was as much about adding a talented young midfielder as it was about clearing cap space.
De Rosario was in the final year of his contract with the league and was open in stating that he was looking for Designated Player money next year.
“The trade with DC is a straight one," Solér said. "We’re ending up with some money as Dax’s salary is less than De Ro’s. We’re going to do more moves in the summer. Money under the cap is good for us.”
Solér said the Red Bulls are looking at a move to bring in a defender during the summer transfer window, and that the versatility shown by Designated Player Thierry Henry could result in the Frenchman playing in a No. 10 role for the team, perhaps filling in the role vacated by De Rosario. McCarty figures to be slotted into the midfield alongside Finnish international Teemu Tainio, also more of a holding midfielder type.
A Canadian international, De Rosario was acquired by the Red Bulls nearly three months ago in exchange for promising midfielder Tony Tchani, left back Danleigh Borman and a first round pick in next year’s SuperDraft. A perennial All-Star selection, De Rosario produced two goals and four assists during his short stay in New York, a disappointing tenure for a player whom head coach Hans Backe called in early April “the last piece” to the Red Bulls attack.
The move to bring in McCarty seems to indicate that New York will align themselves like last year’s starting XI, which featured two holding midfielders and no true attacking midfielder playing centrally. This is in part a response to the results on the recent road trip where the Red Bulls conceded seven goals combined in the matches in Portland and Seattle.
“It makes sense to me to look at a system where we have two holding midfielders,” Solér said.
Now it is up to McCarty to help revive a Red Bulls side that has won just once in their last 10 league games. Solér believes the young American, who has been capped five times, can be that dynamic player in the midfield.
“He’s a young player that we wanted last year that we think can partner with Teemu,” Solér said.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer