Two new familiar faces were back at the New York Red Bulls’ preseason camp this week as midfielders Eric Alexander and Dax McCarty rejoined the team following participating in nearly a month of U.S. Men’s National Team training camp.
The U.S. camp culminated in a 2-0 friendly win over Korea Republic last Saturday at StubHub Center in Carson, CA. Both Alexander and McCarty earned spots on the 18-man roster and Alexander notched his second career cap, coming on as a 82nd minute substitute for Graham Zusi. Both players caught up with NewYorkRedBulls.com in the following video:
In addition, we have some additional quotes from both players that didn’t make it into the final cut:
Midfielder Eric Alexander
On playing in Saturday’s match against South Korea:
It was pretty exciting and you’re right, there’s a lot of competition, and I think with the result we got in the game it showed how well we did at camp and how the whole group kind of bonded together. I thought we played fairly well against South Korea.
On coming back to the team and seeing so many familiar faces:
It’s great seeing all the guys back from last year. Most of all, it’s a really friendly environment and you know, we had such a good chemistry last year and such a good season, you can already feel kind of the momentum that is carrying over from last season. Hopefully we’ll build off it and keep getting better and better. I think my first session today, I saw a lot of good things and I’m pretty pumped to start getting back into it.
Midfielder Dax McCarty
On playing in Brazil as part of the U.S. camp:
It was amazing. Obviously, Brazil they’re known where football and beautiful soccer is played. So, for us to be able to go down there and play a couple of scrimmages, be at the Sao Paolo facilities, which were some of the nicest that I’ve seen around the world. It was a truly great experience; the weather’s hot, the city’s really vibrant and ready for the World Cup, so it was nice to be down there.
On the feedback he received from the U.S. Soccer coaches:
Just that I did well. It was a situation where a lot of guys were getting an opportunity. You know, obviously, like I said, you always want to give yourself a chance to play in the game and I made the bench and I gave myself a chance to play, just unfortunately didn’t work out that way, but Eric got a couple of minutes. It was good, the coaching staff was pleased, obviously the camp is a very high level so if you can go in there and hold your own and stand out a little bit, I think that’s a positive thing. The coaches just say, ‘Now you’re in the pool, we’re keeping an eye on you, so just have a good start to the season and we’ll see where things go from there.’ To me now, the focus has to shift from that back to the Red Bulls and defending our Supporters’ Shield and making a push for the MLS Cup and I couldn’t be happier to be back.
On coming back to the Red Bulls and seeing so many familiar faces:
Yeah it’s great. It’s great to come back and be a part of the group again. These are the guys that you go to work with everyday and these are the guys that are a big part of your life. So, it’s like a family, it’s great to be back with the guys and same old jokes flying around. Some guys don’t change, some guys have gotten less funny I think. But, it’s nice to be back with the guys, there’s a lot of familiarity here, we didn’t make many changes and I think that’s a good thing for the team and we’re looking to have a very successful season this year.