Former Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty helped key the Chicago Fire’s 4-1 preseason win over the Montreal Impact in St. Petersburg, Fla. Wednesday.

The veteran midfielder helped shut down the Impact attack until Ignacio Piatti’s penalty kick in the 88th minute and scored the second goal of the match.

After David Accam lifted Chicago to a 1-0 lead in the first minute, McCarty demonstrated his worth on attack in the 15th minute.

That scoring sequence began with more defensive pressure high up the field. Accam stepped in front of a pass on the left and found Nemanja Nikolic open near the top of the box. Nikolic laid the ball off for McCarty, who fired a rising half-volley into the net from 18 yards.

Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic liked the way that Juninho and McCarty, two offseason acquisitions, have acclimated themselves to the team and to each other.

“I think they’re progressing very well,” he said. “I think the communication between them is becoming very, very important for the team. Fitness-wise, they’re getting more fit and overall I think they are connecting, leading the team, leading the pressure, and they are also taking the leadership role in the middle of the field. I’m happy. Obviously, we all know that we still have to keep working and preparing.”

Both players were subbed in the 78th minute. By then Chicago enjoyed a four-goal bulge behind Kyle Fisher’s 18th-minute own goal and Nikolic’s score in the 64th minute.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at