MLS free agents: Who are the best 2024 signings?
Free agency is always a crucial mechanism for MLS clubs to retool their rosters.
Atlanta United signed free agent midfielder Dax McCarty through the 2024 MLS season with an option for 2025 on Jan. 9, 2024. The Winter Park, Florida native has made 466 MLS Regular Season appearances in his 18-year career and spent the previous four seasons playing for Nashville SC.
The 36-year-old midfielder began his MLS career in 2006 after he was the No. 6 overall pick by FC Dallas in the MLS SuperDraft. McCarty currently ranks second among field players, third overall, in games played in MLS Regular Season history with 466. Only goalkeeper Nick Rimando (514) and midfielder Kyle Beckerman (498) have made more appearances in league history.
His league debut came on July 1, 2006 against Chivas USA. The following season, McCarty established himself as a regular with FC Dallas, playing in 25 matches and starting 18. His best statistical year for Dallas came in 2009 when he finished with three goals and six assists in 28 matches played.
After a short stint with D.C. United, McCarty was traded to the New York Red Bulls during the 2011 season. Over the next five and a half years, McCarty became a mainstay for the Red Bulls in midfield, making 186 appearances in the MLS Regular Season and playoffs. His career-high in MLS Regular Season games played, starts and minutes played came in 2012 when he started 33 of 34 regular season matches, scoring three goals and adding three assists. In 2015, McCarty became a club captain, recorded a career-high eight assists and helped the Red Bulls win the Supporters’ Shield, his second with the club after winning it in 2013. McCarty also earned MLS Best XI and MLS All-Star honors during the 2015 campaign.
Ahead of the 2017 season, McCarty was traded to Chicago Fire FC. Over the next three seasons, McCarty started every one of his 86 MLS Regular Season appearances for Chicago and tallied one goal and 12 assists. In his first season with the Fire, Chicago finished in third place in the Eastern Conference. Following the 2019 season, McCarty was dealt to Nashville SC, becoming a member of the club’s inaugural MLS roster. He made 105 MLS Regular Season appearances with Nashville in the past four seasons and helped guide the team to the MLS Cup Playoffs each year.
At the international level, McCarty has made 13 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team. McCarty also was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team where he played alongside current Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan and former 5-Stripes captain Michael Parkhurst in the Beijing Olympics.