Fire land Dax McCarty for GAM

Followong last week's SuperDraft Nelson Rodriguez maintained that he was still looking for help in central midfield and today the Fire acquired one of the top players at that position in MLS. Chicago has acquired New York Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty in exchange for $400,000 in General Allocation Money.

The GAM arrangement splits the payment to New York into equal amounts of $200,000 this season and another $200,000 next season.

McCarty was married this past weekend and reported to USMNT camp in California earlier today. He missed time last season after suffering a fractured tibia as a result of a Khaly Thiam tackle at Toyota Park in August. He will be 30 in April and signed a multi-year contract extension with New York last January.

The Fire essentially flipped the #3 pick overall for McCarty and $150,000 in GAM, which for all intents and purposes should end the pursuit of Bastin Schweinsteiger. Rodriguez and the Fire also still have room to maneuver and one Designated Player spot potentially open.

Filed under: 2017 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • As cool as this is, he's still not the guy to feed the forwards as a playmaker, is he? Years ago I thought he could do that, but then coaches kept putting him into the d-mid role.

  • I'm still wondering what kind of formation we'll play. It seems like Pauno prefers the 4-2-3-1, so having two solid D-mids (Dax and Juninho) and one to sub in (Polster) would make sense. Nikolic up top with DeLeeuw underneath, Accam on one side with Alvarez on the other? Still don't have a RB, and I'm not convinced that we'd have either enough creativity in the middle or guile on the wings to make that work. Aaaaand then there's the keeper situation which remains uncertain until proven otherwise.

    What I like is that Juninho and McCarty are proven MLS mids, not speculative purchases from middling Euro or S Am leagues. Barring injury (*cough* Thiam *cough*) they add championship experience.

    GR do you think McCarty is the "boss" NR likes to talk about?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I assume so. Adding another CM at this point would make little sense when RB, RM, and CB depth need to be addressed.

  • Pauno appeared on the Red Card show from Canadian soccer commentor Anthony Totera this evening - skip forward 10 mins for the interview:

  • In reply to Modibo:

    He said that Polster played in midfield as an attacking mid, and that we need to improve at RB in spite of Kappelhof and Harrington. Lookking at different targets at RB but thinks he's got good players there.

    He said he knows Delgado from his time in Spain when he was at Getafe. He said he did well at the combine and in the interview - he really emphasized the importance of the interview.

    He said that Daniel Johnson was "very very good" at the combine, and that he gave all the right answers in the interview in acknowledging that he knew his first 3 years in college weren't good and he needed a different approach. NR called him a "soccer junkie".

    He described Stefan Cleveland as "a player in the goal" meaning he is someone who understands the game, how to control the pace from the back, and makes the right decisions. He knows about communication and is good in understanding space in the back and watching the speed of the other team.

    He also hinted that the Fire may acquire more players tomorrow in the draft - sounds like they have definite targets.

    He was asked about what he learned from 2016 and said that you have to have players who believe in you in the locker room, he needs need to improve communication skills, and he needs to manage locker room better off the field to get them on the same page.

  • Depth move? If that's the case, I like this. If someone is injured (or we need to maintain rotation to prevent season fatigue, we can rest safely knowing that there is someone reliable to slot in.

    But Dax and Juninho in midfield? Whoa.

    This reminds me of the moves DC made a couple years back, bringing in veteran players. I think I like this.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    So you want polster to start and either Juninho or Dax to come off the bench?

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    In reply to AJties:

    Yeah, if Polster is staying in the midfield, and we stick with a two man central midfield, there is no doubt that Polster is the rotation guy. Now we could change our base formation from last year but I still think Pauno is most comfortable with two DM's

  • I don't hate this move, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns into a spectacular failure a few months from now.

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    I think with this, you could say that Chicago won the draft. With a little extra funny money, they turned the #3 pick into one of if not the top defensive midfielder in the league (you have to wonder what NYRB are up to though). I was hoping for the schweinsteiger deal only because it was the only big name that they have been legitimately linked to and I wanted to see them spend Keane Money but I think this is a better signing (3 years younger, league veteran). This team is so close to being dangerous again, if they use the money the supposedly offered BS to grab another DP and a right back, I might just put $100 down on that 100/1 bet (still a giant gamble but what the hell).
    Aside from Arshakyan and less recently, Harrington), recent signings have been significant which is rather refreshing.

  • They should pursue a villalba type player for that rw spot. That position usually has to have some one which is atmost 28 years old because the players slowly starts getting slower (except Ronaldo) at that age. Arturo Alvarez isn't getting any younger. Hopefully the money will be used to bring someone in their prime of their career or someone they can develop into like Fagundez from the Revs.

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    The money used to offer Bastian a contract.

  • Polster will likely be shifted to RB. He has played RB before professionally so either bench or RB rn

  • After reading this,, I'm wondering if "home" is Chicago and am left trying to figure out if he has to go through the allocation draft. He has 35 caps, but the last one was a year and a half ago. He's 30 and experienced. He would be a nice addition to the squad, especially since he's a local boy.

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    In reply to Fuegofan:

    He's not listed on the Allocation List:

    It would certainly make a lot of sense given his connection to Chicago and ability to play RB and CB. Hope it happens. If we can get Spector in addition to Juninho and McCarty, we'll be a million times better defensively & in possession than last season.

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    In reply to Fuegofan:

    As much as I want to see Spector in a fire jersey, they should have sprung for him two years ago when he was almost out of contract and two years younger. He is versatile and can play CB, RB, and CDM and has been deployed even further up in an attacking role as well but considering the pieces they have right now (CB and CDM are two of their strongest areas), I dont know that it would make sense to spend our last DP slot on him (unless they bought down both Accam and Juninho) as I think he is unlikely to come home for less than $1mil a year and it might take significantly more than that.

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    In reply to Carl Miller:

    hearing more of this on twitter. If they did bring him in, who plays RB, him or Kappelholf? If they could land him and either buy some contracts down to get a DP playmaker or just get a TAM playmaker, this team would be f*ckin sexy!

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    In reply to Carl Miller:

    I think Spector starts at RB and Kapp moves back to CB. Kapp is better at CB (and our best CB for that matter) so in my opinion we should do our best to get him back to the center where he can have a greater effect on matches

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    In reply to Carl Miller:

    I doubt he would be that expensive, given that he's at the tail end of his career. For the sake of comparison, Bedoya makes that much for the Union and he's 1) younger, 2) a current international and 3) not a defender. He would not be cheap though, by MLS standards.

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    In reply to Dan Koev:

    My mistake, I did the research two years ago when he signed another 2 year extension with Birmingham and thought he was making over $1mil but at best, that was when the euro was stronger, haha. Looks like he was making about $600k a year or so, so with his age, if they give him a 3+ year contract, I could see him taking a salary in the range of $500k. Just like de Leeuw and Kapleholf, a salary in that range would do little to dent their pile of TAM as each one would only need to be bought down about $20k/year with the new max non-dp salary. At this point, if he comes to MLS and doesnt land in Chicago, I think it would look pretty bad on them

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    I don't think Spector would be on DP money.

  • Getting Dax with just a one year commitment and two club options is excellent. Dax is always in the right position. He controls the center of the field and makes the link from backline to the forwards happen. NY struggle dafter he got hurt last year, but they learned to get by without him which I think is why they thought their young players can step up this year. I hope Dax doesn't get to Chicago, see the training facility, and just start to cry for a trade to Orlando. I truly think Polster is beast who, if allowed to shoot, could develop into a dangerous attacking player.

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    In reply to Krasov:

    I have seen so many people complain about the training grounds for the Fire. I have seen the outdoor fields in Bridgeview by Toyota Park. Is that where the team actually trains during the season? Is that what everyone refers to? Is that setup really that much worse than the average training facilities in MLS. I have nothing to compare to.

  • In reply to hannadewisco:

    Yes. that is where they train. Here is a link showing the Union's training facility. All of their youth/development teams train there as well.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Not quite.

    I've gone twice to Union games, and they have two beautiful training fields directly adjacent to Talen Energy Stadium, visible as you walk up to the facility. Look at the map, just to the west:

    By way of comparison, Chester - river = Bridgeview. The route there is similar, but there's a value to being on the water.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    You are correct. I jumped the gun and linked to the old facility. The new place next to the stadium is beautiful. So think about that for a second, the Union moved out of the Wayne PA training facility that is a far cry better than the Fire's current facility and established an even bigger and more beautiful new facility near the stadium. I am not saying the Fire need to build something that makes Barca jealous; I think they need a facility that allows the first team and the youth/academy to train nearby. That brings a cohesion to the organization. They simply need to invest more.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Agree 100% with you on this.

  • In reply to hannadewisco:

    While the actual field may be fine, look how far away from everything it is. The locker room is on the other side of the facility. The walk there is on gravel and just doesn't seem up to the standards you would expect for a professional club.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Don't forget to add that the club pays rent for the training fields as Bridgeview owns them.

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    In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Agreed, it is a fairly poor setup and seems to be way below what a professional would expect and what other MLS teams provide for their teams.

  • Will Fax be a DP?

  • In reply to Shinny:

    ... Dax

  • In reply to Shinny:

    McCarty's base salary is under the DP minimum.$400k/$500 guaranteed last year.

  • So, does this lineup make the playoffs:
    Kappelhof, Meira, Campbell, Vincent
    Juninho, McCarty
    Alvarez, deLeeuw, Accam

  • In reply to go fire:

    Just a new/younger rw and we might be able to do it.

  • In reply to go fire:

    I'm a little worried about that back line/goalie combo. Also hard to say not knowing much how Bava will perform.

    I'd say add another fairly significant piece and you're in business.

  • The Fire's two picks in the draft today are both from Charlotte.

    Midfielder Brandt Bronico

    Left back Matej Dekovic

    Dekovic was born in Croatia and may count as an international if he makes the team.

    Should note that players on loan don't count toward international totals.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You think its telling at all with the recent rumor of Spector that they didnt draft a RB with these two picks as they hinted they might?

  • While I know that Keisuke Honda is a pipe dream that will likely culminate in seeing him at Toyota Park in either Sounders-Green or Galaxy-whatever, I will have a slight smirk on my face thanks to the headline on this article:

    I'm actually excited for this upcoming season. While a Honda signing would cement my season tickets, another solid signing would lead me towards attending way more games than last year.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Oh man, what a headline!

    Reminds me of this old college rugby t-shirt -
    "If you can't beat us on the field, you can beat us off"

  • I think the Dax move is a positive move both on and off of the field for this club. He seems like a positive role model and works his socks off. Two things that we haven't had in a while. Juninho is also a very good player as well. Pauno needs to find a way to get Polster on the field in the middle though. He better not throw him out at right back or I will lose my mind. A midfield of Polster, Dax, and Juninho is up there as one of the best in the league. Can De Leeuw play on the right or left in a 4-3-3? I would rather De Leeuw on the wing and Polster in the middle in a 4-3-3 than De Leeuw in the middle, Alvarez on the wing and Polster on the bench in a 4-2-3-1. Are others okay with Polster on the bench?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I like the competition created with Dax, Juninho, and Polster. If Polster can't beat out Dax and Juninho at practice, I am fine with him on the bench. This battle for two CM positions only makes the Fire a better team.

  • Actually, and this is likely ridiculous, but I was wondering about a 3-3-4:

    Kappelhoff Campell Meira
    Juninho McCarty Polster
    Alvarez De Leeuw Accam

    I have Polster on the left since he would have to cover a ton of ground covering for Accam. This formation feels super defensive and not creative enough, but it gets our best players on the field. Go ahead and shred my folly.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    I think three in the back would be a nightmare for this team. I would have this be my line-up:

    Kapp Campbell Meira Vincent
    Polster McCarty Juninho
    De Leeuw Nikolic Accam

    If a new RB is signed, Kapp goes back to CB where he belongs. In my view Polster needs to play. I really think his desire and strength alone make him an exceptional talent. Campbell is better with Kapp next to him. Meira is not the answer. The Fire need a player on the right side that can stretch the field. Alavarez cannot be that player. He is very good, but he is not the guy to lead the charge up the right side.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Believe me, right now I really want our back line to be
    Spector Kappelhof Campbell Vincent,
    but seven defensive minded players seems a bit much, no? Now if either Vincent and Spector were Roberto Carlos types, sure. But is the touch of either of these elevens good enough to actually hold onto the ball in the offensive half?

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    Spector is pretty good going forward. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like he's headed to Chicago.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Is there an explanation as to why they passed? He didn't seem to be too expensive and he filled a stated need?! Ship (a move I don't disagree with), Guzan (dp money on a keeper ... okay maybe misplaced money) and now Spector. Spector seemed like it checked all the right boxes: position, cost, attitude, leadership, Chicago guy. It just doesn't seem like the NR/AH/VP will give a nod to hometown boy and what that would do for the fan base. Ugh.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    We would get killed on the wings with this formation. None of these guys is a true winger. De Leeuw and Accam don't go vertical from midfield, they both go towards goal; Polster can cross-field pass well in the midfield but he's not a crosser, and I don't think Juninho's ready to shuttle the ball up the wing. Kappelhoff would stay home, so we'd basically be depending on Vincent to challenge on his side. We'd have three guys waiting in front for a ball in and one guy trying to deliver it from the same side each time.

  • Out of curiosity, there seems to be an overlap at West Ham United in 2011 where Spector and Daniel Johnson were there at the same time. I wonder if they knew each other. Anyone have any insight on this?

  • Just saw it online that Birmingham has signed Spector's presumptive replacement, Emilio Nsue. Hopefully luck, or the name out of a hat drawing is on our side. Fingers crossed.

  • Question for the board, why aren't the Fire the front runners to land Spector?

  • In reply to go fire:

    Allow me to introduce you to the chairman of the board, Andrew Ebenezer Hauptman.

    Go Fire, meet Mr. Hauptman. Mr. Hauptman, meet Go Fire. Uhhh, Mr. Hauptman...

    Mr. Hauptman...

    Mr. Hauptman! Could you please stop admiring the sharp increase in your team's value after MNUFC and Atlanta entered the league while you refused to invest in anything that would make the team competitive on the field!

    We know, you brought in Sherjil MacDonald. Yes, we know you offered free hot dogs on several occasions. Yes, we know you thought about starting a USL team, which is an admirable first step towards actually making it possible for younger players to get real minutes without counting against the MLS salary cap. Yes, we know you said great things about "Keane-like money," and we love that kind of talk!

    But Go Fire is asking you why we aren't in the running for Jonathan Spector! Will you please answer the question. Mr. Hauptman!

    I'm sorry, Mr. Hauptman has fallen asleep at the wheel, Go Fire. Could you please come back tomorrow?

  • In reply to Modibo:


  • In reply to Modibo:

    Thanks reality check Modibo. Sometimes I forget which team I root for.

  • In reply to go fire:

    Edit: Thanks for the...

  • In reply to go fire:

    Sometimes you have to laugh, or else you'd be crying!

  • Not sure if my Jonathan Bornstein to cf97 idea from Twitter is going to pan out, Guillermo.

    As the classic film "Major League" taught us, it's hard to tear a man away from his auto shop for sports.

    "Manage the Indians? I don't know, we got this deal on tires going on right now..."

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    Free agent RBs are getting snatched up quickly. Kevin Alston, Chance Myers and Marvell Wynne are all now taken. They declined Ramos' option, neglected to use a draft pick on a RB, opted to steer away from free agents, and chose to "pass" on Spector........really wondering what the plan is. In at least two interviews they mentioned that they had Harrington and Kappelholf. I really really hope the plan is not to continue using a band-aid at RB and hope no one notices but considering they are short on international slots as well, their options seem sparse going forward.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Kappelhof and Harrington were mentioned again today.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Well, as Nelson mentioned that they are always looking at players to upgrade the roster, I'd REALLY like to know what RB's are on their radar map. I'm wondering if their first choices are simply not panning out as far as convos/offers go and hence the Kappelton Plan B is what we're getting, (with the backup provision of a mid-season signing/loanee should things not work out as planned.)

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    In reply to BrianC.:

    I don't expect them to tell us what RB's are on their radar screen. But going into the season with Kappelhoff/ Harrington as the solution is simply unacceptable!!! By passing on all the other options listed, the front office has put themselves in a position that unless they succeed in bringing in another option, we will have a significantly weaker defense again, and will we pay for it all season long!!! Simply unacceptable when they have had all offseason to address this need.

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    Uuuugh, so close to an all around solid and complete roster, why skimp on one spot that could be filled with a good player for sub-$200k or a draft pick. All three FAs mentioned above wouldnt make anyone super excited but would have been a suffiecient upgrade. If Kappelholf slides over again this season it would be a massive step backward on an otherwise forward looking roster/formation.

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