Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty has been receiving heaps of praise for his gritty performance against New England Saturday, and rightfully so. McCarty assumed the pivotal role of defensive midfielder after the Red Bulls jostled the starting XI following an injury to forward Thierry Henry. The end result amounted to a 1-0 shutout win, the team's first of the season, thanks in part to McCarty's hustle and leadership.
ProSoccerTalk.com's Steve Davis took notice and named McCarty Player of the Week for his ability to fill in on the spot and assume whatever role the coaches needed him to fill:
"Asked to function Saturday as a defensive screener (for injured first-choice Teemu Tainio and the suspended second-choice Rafa Marquez) was a tough assignment, but one well taken. McCarty may not be an enforcer, per se, but he demonstrated how tackling through focus and technique can be as effective as Nigel de Jong-type tackling through collisions and contusions."
MLSsoccer.com's Franco Panizo also mentioned McCarty's team-first approach to the match, highlighting his vocal presence that assisted in keeping a tight back line against New England.
Over the first eight weeks of the season, four Red Bulls have been named Player of the Week on ProSoccerTalk.com - Henry in week 3 and 4, Kenny Cooper in week 5 and now McCarty in week 8.
(And on a side note, Dax celebrated his 25th birthday Monday. Feel free to send him a Happy Birthday message on Twitter, @DaxMcCarty11)