Dax McCarty has always found himself a key member of the team. Since 2011, he's been a regular starter. Then, he was named captain following Thierry Henry's retirement, which gives you an idea of how much faith the team has always had in him. His passing, his defending, and his high energy play style allowed him to move seamlessly from Mike Petke's to Jesse Marsch's style of play. This year, he was able to pick up All Star honors (albeit on a bit of a technicality, as Frank Lampard was injured and needed to be replaced), and, most importantly, captained the New York Red Bulls to their second Supporters' Shield in three years. So, what was his grade this season?
39 games played
39 games started
3437 minutes played
Player Grade: A+
Things Done Well:
Just about everything, really. His defending this year was very, very good. He made around 3.3 tackles per game and 2.8 interceptions per game. Despite his small stature, Dax established himself as a bit of a physical presence in midfield. He was able to win a few headers, one of which put the Red Bulls in the lead against D.C. United in the first leg of the MLS Cup playoffs. Dax did only score 2 this year, but he never really found himself in shooting positions. He did pick up 8 assists, however, which is pretty decent for a more box to box midfielder. Dax's passing percentage was around 84%, with 71.8 passes per game. Only 1.1 of those were key passes, which pretty fairly states Dax's role in the team; recycle the ball and win it back when necessary.
Things Done Poorly:
To be really honest, nothing. As stated above, he picked up what seems like so few goals and assists because he has a specific role in the team, a role that he plays to perfection. At this point in his career, there is nothing new to be added to his game. It's clear what his role as a player is. Every skill required for that role, he fills out perfectly. The only negative I could think of is during the Eastern Conference Finals. Tony Tchani is an absolute tank in midfield. Dax was just getting thrown around by Tchani. The only negative to his game is that against truly physical players, he stutters. But that's completely out of his control, and, as I said earlier, he was able to reach truly great levels this year despite him being one of the smaller players on the team.