UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The shock move earlier this week that sent Dax McCarty to the Red Bulls in exchange for Dwayne De Rosario gives New York a two-way midfielder who will help bring some defensive bite to the club.
The Red Bulls’ newest acquisition trained with his new teammates for the first time on Thursday and participated in small-sided games and tactical training ahead of the club’s match at San Jose on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, ESPN2).
“The players and the system that they play suits my style,” McCarty said. “I like to be that player in the middle that links the attacking aspect with the defensive aspect.”
But although the McCarty move helps solidify a New York team defense which has allowed eight goals in their past three league games, there are some still question marks about what the team gave up in the deal.
While McCarty is very much a box-to-box player, he is not a true attacker out of the midfield. While De Rosario — a perennial All-Star and award-winner — was a disappointment in his 13 games with the Red Bulls, he did provide a dynamic spark to the attack.
But even if McCarty isn’t a true No. 10 type in the midfield, the coaching staff of his new team sees potential for him to be the perfect fit for the Red Bulls.
“We have a lot of offensive players,” assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen. “It is a little bit about the balance of the team.”
And that balance now includes a player who can win the ball and then cleanly distribute passes to those moving into the attack. McCarty was asked to be a true playmaker while with D.C. United, something he wasn’t comfortable doing.
“I don’t think my style of play fitted with what they wanted from the position,” McCarty said. “For both parties [the trade] probably made the most sense.”
McCarty is clearly looking forward to the chance to play alongside the likes of Thierry Henry, Teemu Tainio, Joel Lindpere and Dane Richards.
“I think coming to New York, they have all the high-profile guys, the superstars,” McCarty said. “For me, it will be nice to step back and take a secondary role.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer