We caught up with Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty following Wednesday's training session to get his take on Sunday's match against the Union and the road ahead as the club reaches the midway point of the season.
For starters, a lot of talk has been about the team’s balance between “rest” and “rust.” Do you think the break may have led to a little bit of the latter once the team got back out on the field against Philly last weekend?
No I don’t think that’s an excuse. We definitely weren’t our sharpest against Philly, but we had a really good couple of weeks of training and a week of training leading up to the Philly game. The rest is needed, especially in a long season. It was something to get away both mentally and physically. It was good for the body and that’s definitely not an excuse. We didn’t start the game off the way we should have. Any time you go down against Philly in the first 10 minutes of the game on the road and then you go down a man 15 minutes later, you’re always going to have a tough, tough battle. And Philly’s a good team. We have to give them their respect, but we certainly felt that if it would have stayed 11v11 we would’ve come out of there with the result, but it wasn’t to be.
No doubt an unfortunate outcome, but is it still possible to pull positives out of the match?
Yeah. We played well with 10 men, I thought. Other than the counter attacks they hit us with, I thought for the most part, especially being down a man, we created some very positive chances. Played some really good combinations. I thought we worked really hard for each other. It was tough conditions and it was really hot out, you know Philly’s good at home, so we definitely didn’t make it easy on ourselves but overall I felt we didn’t play very badly. Certainly they had chances, but we had chances too. I think 3-0 wasn’t really a reflection of how the game went, so there’s definitely positives we can take.
Would you say that injuries and suspensions have shaken up the rhythm of the team at all?
Yeah, I mean there’s certainly some truth to that statement, but look, that’s why you have a deep team. That’s why you have depth and that’s why you have guys that come in and can play at a high level. When you have suspensions and injuries. Every team has to go through it. This league’s getting better and better. You can’t just have 12 or 13 players on your roster that can play. You have to be 21 or 22 players deep. So it’s going to be a long season. You have to go in knowing that. It certainly doesn’t help the team with the injuries and suspensions, but I think that with our depth it doesn’t hurt us either.
So what needs to be done to get the team back on track?
Just start the game a little better against Houston. We talked about set pieces against Philly, and set pieces are Houston’s bread and butter. They’re amazing on them. So we have to make sure from the get go that we’re positive and we stay with our runners and markers and don’t go down a goal early. We shoot ourselves in the foot when we go down a goal early. So we have to try and score first, we have to dictate the pace of the game, we’re at home and we get to play on our terms, we just have to have the confidence to know we can beat Houston, because they’re a top team.