The question that will likely follow the New York Red Bulls for the entire 2017 season is "was trading Dax McCarty the correct decision?"
As is almost always the case, a question like that is going to have a different answer almost every week, and probably stops being worth asking almost as soon as the trade is made. All trades are made for a reason, usually for a reason those involved think makes their respective teams better. Understand that reason and you have your answer to whether the trade was good or not: you either agree or disagree with the trade when it was made, after that you're simply applying a lot of hindsight - and all parties involved in the trade probably agree with you anyway, since they also have seen whose guess was best. No team can predict the future, and all trades are a best-guess at what will make a squad better based on whatever priorities those doing the trading have at the time.
But a controversial trade is a recurring source of #content, and mlssoccer.com went back to the Dax-trade well this week to evaluate how his replacement - Sean Davis - is faring in RBNY's midfield compared to McCarty's initial work for Chicago Fire.
A couple of weeks of Audi Player Index data is presented as the basis for the assessment, which is contentious in itself. Does the Audi Player Index know the instructions either player is given by their respective coaches, or understand the player's role relative to his teammates and the efforts of opponents to impose themselves on the game? The Index does not.
It understands a number of statistical categories and in-game actions to which it assigns a score. The Index knows who performs better according to the criteria deemed most valuable by the Index, and it might not be all that well equipped to evaluate a player in a system like RBNY's that sees an incomplete pass (which draws a negative score from the Index) as a valuable attacking tool.
RBNY fans were quick to notice the flaws in MLS' premise:
@RBNYeverything @MLS and we have 2 more wins clearly a good move— Eric Friedlander (@EF1234_1) March 16, 2017
So too was Dax McCarty:
It's been 2 games . Let the kid play guys. Time to move on. They are also undefeated so I'd say he's been just fine. https://t.co/HFTIKQ1mGJ— Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11) March 16, 2017
Well said, (former) Captain.
And Bradley Wright-Phillips agrees:
Exactly that https://t.co/AwpUXCI2Kw— Brad Wright-Phillips (@TheRealBWP) March 16, 2017
Let the kid play, MLS. And if you are going to play the second-guessing game with RBNY's Dax trade (which we all have played and will play, in fairness), maybe wait a little longer than the second week of the regular season to play it.