Dax McCarty: ‘They’re the club that I’ll always hold fondly in my heart, but it always leaves a bitter taste in your mouth on the way things ended.’ Brady Penner/USA Today

By Michael Lewis


The original shock appears to have worn off, but there still is a bitter taste in Dax McCarty’s mouth.

Three weeks after the Red Bulls dealt the veteran midfielder to the Chicago Fire for $400,000 in allocation money, McCarty has had some time for the sale to sink in.

“I didn’t think they handled the situation in a very classy way,” he said Tuesday.

The deal went down on Jan. 16, and since he received the stunning news McCarty admitted he has experienced “a rollercoaster of emotion.”

He first took aim at the Red Bulls, particularly at head coach Jesse Marsch.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about it and a lot of time to try to measure on how I talk about the Red Bulls because it’s an organization I love,” he said during a Chicago Fire media conference call. “The main part of my emotional side was the way they handled the trade, the way certain people handled the trade. I don’t think it was done in an appropriate way, especially for a club and a team that preaches family, a team that preaches togetherness and brotherhood and having each others’ backs. Trust is a big word that they use.”

Later in the interview, McCarty then got specific about who handled the deal — Marsch. In an interview with FourFourTwo, Marsch said that wished the circumstances of the trade were different.

“I don’t think that the trade and the way it happened honored the relationship that I had with Dax, and the relationship the club had with Dax, and that’s the unfortunate part,” he told Paul Tenorio. “When you look around the world when transfers are made, players have to agree to it and then there’s more control of what you do and where you go. Here it doesn’t work that way. That’s just the flat-out reality of our business …

“I wish the circumstances would’ve been different, everything from the timing around his wedding, to the manner in which it caught him by surprise,” Marsch said. “Yeah, I wish that there was a world we lived in that didn’t put him in that situation. I’ll take responsibility for it and I know that Dax harbors ill will about it and frustration, and I understand that. It’s an incredibly awful situation that he and I may never really have the relationship that we once had. As a coach, I value the relationship with my players, especially my most important ones, and I put a lot into my relationship with Dax and it saddens me, it truly saddens me. But professionally it was a decision as a club that we all felt we needed to make.”

Asked about Marsch’s comments, McCarty replied, “He’s just an opposing coach, that coaches another team in MLS. I’m on another team that will try to beat them. I saw the story and the quotes that he made. I don’t really know what quite what to make of them because at the end of the day you could tell that it was a decision that was his decision.

“I don’t think that Ali Curtis had anything to do with the decision. I think it’s fairly obvious with the way the club is treating Ali right now. It’s clear for everyone to see that’s not part of the decision-making process going on at the Red Bulls, which is a little surprising to me because put together [for] two years one of the best teams in MLS that won a Supporters Shield, another an Eastern Conference. So, that’s a little surprising to me on how things are going down with Ali.”

Curtis was supposed to run the Red Bulls’ decision-making process at the MLS SuperDraft in Los Angeles last month, but was called back to New Jersey. He has not been heard from since. He quite possibility is negotiating a deal to leave the team.

“I totally respect Jesse’s reasons to trade me for business reasons, if that’s his reason. If he wants to get guys more minutes, then I certainly agree with it to try to make the club better, to move the club on.

“I told Jesse to his face that I didn’t think the way that he handled it was appropriate and it was a big surprise. I certainly thought the club could have gone about it in a better way. This is life in professional sports. So, I respect Jesse as a coach, a helluva coach. I think he’s going to do great things in his career. I think he’s a fantastic coach, but obviously as a person as a human being, I think things could have been handled differently.

“That’s a big shame. You want to try to move on in an appropriate way. You want to try to have a lot of love for the Red Bulls because for me they’re the club I had the best years of my career with. They’re the club that I’ll always hold fondly in my heart, but it always leaves a bitter taste in your mouth on the way things ended. So, that’s a shame.

“I’ll move on, he’ll move on. I’m sure in the future we’ll shake hands and we’ll be fine. As of now, my focus is to try to make the Chicago Fire a better team and I wish the Red Bulls nothing but the best.”