Dax McCarty played a starring role in the United States national team's 1-1 draw against Chile on Saturday night, showing the tenacity and touch that had many questioning why FC Dallas left him unprotected in the Expansion Draft.
McCarty – now with D.C. United – knows the middle of the field is a crowded place on the American squad, but he's prepared to fight for a position. A day before earning his fifth cap for the Stars and Stripes, he answered five questions for MLSsoccer.com.
1. What's your most memorable United States national team moment?
I was 0-3 in my first three caps, so it would probably have to be getting that first victory against El Salvador. That's probably the most fulfilling and rewarding moment. But in terms of the one that I'll remember the most, it's probably that feeling I had when I was in Europe for those friendlies at the end of 2009.
I was about to go in and make my debut against Slovakia, and just being in an environment like with what was pretty much considered the "A" team, was amazing. I was getting an opportunity to play and get my first cap at a young age. That was an opportunity I'll never forget.
2. What would you tell yourself of five years ago?
Stay humble and make sure that you always work hard. That's something that gets lost. Guys come through the national team and sometimes a lot of pressure gets put on people's shoulders. Sometimes it's tough to stay grounded, but that's something I try to do and something that ever since I was young; my parents brought me up that way. And be thankful for every opportunity that comes.
3. Favorite teammate to play with and why?
I have a childhood friend who's also in the league, Nathan Sturgis. He's been on a couple different teams. He just got traded to Toronto. It's kind of funny. We've always kept in touch; we've always been good friends. We were roommates on the U-17 national team and played on the U-20 national team together. We've kept in touch throughout the years.
I haven't played with him too much in the past couple years, but being on the same team with him is always fun. Playing against him is fun because we go way back and he's one of my better friends in the league. He's the one that sticks out the most.
[inline_node:327052]4. What's one skill you could improve?
I would say just my consistency. As a younger player, it's tough to stay consistent, especially in MLS, because the rigors of the league are pretty great. But I think I've learned throughout my years that it's never going to be perfect. There are certainly going to be situations where you go through rough patches. I think I've done that in my career and I've let my head get down and let that affect my play on the field.
For me, it's all about being consistent. Obviously, I'm excited to go to a new team in DC and I have to make sure if I'm playing at a high level, I keep that up.
5. Where do you see yourself in five years in regards to the US team?
Hopefully a big part of the national team. A personal goal of mine is to make the World Cup team in the next three years. I know that it's not going to be easy. I know we have a deep and talented pool of players in the midfield, but I know that I have a lot of room for improvement and, if I continue to get better, I can only give myself a chance.
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.com.