Memories abound as Dax returns to Dallas

This Saturday’s match against FC Dallas is a homecoming of sorts for Dax McCarty. For the first time since D.C. United traded the midfielder to New York on June 27, McCarty will return to Pizza Hut Park as a member of the visiting team’s locker room.

“Definitely a little bit of a crazy, crazy thing,” McCarty said after Thursday’s training session at Montclair State University. “Definitely be something I’m not used to going to, to the visiting locker room. But that’s a place I have a lot of good memories, a lot of good friends.”

From 2006 to 2010, McCarty appeared in 93 matches for FC Dallas, scoring five goals and helping his team to a runner-up finish in the 2010 MLS Cup. He first played against his former team on May 7 of this season with D.C. United in a scoreless draw. Following the trade to New York, McCarty played against them again in a 2-2 finish on July 27. Both meetings were on his home field.

But while the return to Dallas will most certainly bring back some great memories, it will also elicit some heartfelt ones as well. During the early stages of McCarty’s career, he became close friends with the late Bobby Rhine, who passed away last week at age 35.

“He’s a legend in not only the Dallas soccer community but I think in terms of Major League Soccer,” McCarty said. “He’s a guy who came in and he was the first to admit not the most talented, not the fastest guy, but just a guy who just worked so hard and, I think more importantly, off the field he was just a great person.”

FC Dallas announced earlier this week that the team has dedicated Saturday’s game in honor of Rhine. While it’s sure to be an emotional night for all in attendance both on and off the pitch, McCarty would certainly welcome an even greater opportunity to honor his friend.

“It’s kind of ironic,” McCarty said. “I played there five years and all the goals I’ve scored in MLS have been away from home. I’ve never scored one at home. So it would definitely be a little bit of irony if I scored. I would like to do it to help the team, but also I think as a tribute to my late friend.

“If I got a goal I would definitely dedicate it to him.”