In one of the biggest offseason moves, the New York Red Bulls sent Dax McCarty to the Chicago Firein exchange for $400,000 in General Allocation Money.
McCarty had been the team’s captain over the previous two seasons, leading them to the 2015 Supporters’ Shield and a first-place regular season finish in the Eastern Conference in 2016. He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2015 and his play has earned him a call-up to the US national team for the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
A big reason that the Red Bulls decided to part ways with McCarty was the ability to free up some space under the salary budget, but another was the play of Sean Davis last season.
When McCarty fractured his tibia towards the end of the season, Davis stepped in and started seven consecutive games. In those games Davis shined, averaging 421 Audi Player Index points. That number would have put him in between Javier Morales and Jermaine Jones if he had played that way over the course of the entire season.
Davis earned over 1,000 Audi Player Index points in each of those games. Against the Galaxy, Davis scored the equalizing goal from inside the box, worth 285 points, and completed 25 passes in the Galaxy’s half of the field, worth five points each. Against the Impact, he scored again while also adding a first assist, worth 238 points.
So far this season, Davis has not been performing to those heights. He has averaged just 163 points in the Red Bulls’ first two games, with most of those points coming on the defensive end of the field. His 10 tackles won have been worth 34.6 points each.
In Chicago, McCarty has had a better start with his new team. The Fire are unbeaten through two games (1-0-1) after finishing with the worst record in the Eastern Conference in 2016 and McCarty’s passing has been key. His 52 successful passes in the opposition’s half ranks him in the top 20 in MLS.
The Red Bulls will hope that Davis can improve his performances starting this Sunday against the Seattle Sounders (7 pm ET; FS1 in the US | MLS LIVE in Canada) as they chase their first MLS Cup.