FRISCO, Texas --After six seasons with FC Dallas, 23-year-old midfielder Dax McCarty switchedclubs twice on Wednesday, becoming the Portland Timbers’ No. 1 Expansion Draftselection and then getting traded to DC United less than three hours later.
The veteranlinking midfielder was left unprotected by FC Dallas for the Expansion Draft justthree days after featuring as a starter for FCD in Sunday night’s 2-1 MLS Cupdefeat to the Colorado Rapids. He was then traded by Portland to DC United forleft back Rodney Wallace and a draft pick.
“[Being left unprotected] was out ofleft field, definitely a surprise,” McCarty said of being left unprotected byFC Dallas. “But that’s the way this league works.
McCarty had at least some sort of head's up about the trade to DC, however.
“My agent hadtold me that he had discussions with DC and they were fairly interested inbringing me in and what I would think about that. My words then were ‘Yeah, I’dabsolutely be interested in going to DC.' The fact that it’s happened and is adone deal is very exciting for me.”
McCarty foundout he was among the 11 players left unprotected by FCD right after the teamreturned to Dallas on Monday evening, less than 24 hours after the loss to theRapids.
When the team arrived at Pizza Hut Park, an announcement was made to the players about who had beenprotected and who had not.
“Unfortunatelywith the timing of it all, the way they did it wasn’t really how they wanted todo it. They just called everyone into the locker room and read the list off. Itwas definitely a bit of a surprise,” McCarty said.
Even though thelast few days have been a bit of a blur, he still has nothing but good thingsto say about his time with FCD, who drafted him sixth overall in the 2006 SuperDraft.
“It’s been alittle bit of a whirlwind but this is the business we’re in,” McCarty said. “Oneminute you’re playing for a championship and the next minute, you’re on adifferent team. My five years in Dallas were fantastic. I have nothing butgreat things to say about the organization.”
And leavingbehind his teammates is going to be the toughest thing about his shift to United.
“The guys in thelocker room are the best group of guys I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “Theywere like brothers to me. That’s going to be the toughest part, is moving onfrom them … It was a phenomenal season to end my Dallas tenure on.”
In 93 careergames with FCD, including 71 starts, McCarty scored five goals and had 16assists. Even though he’s only 23, he already has six years of MLS experienceunder his belt, something that could pay dividends in the nation’s capital.
“I know they didn’t have the year that they wantedto have last year but you can see with the talent they have, the young playersthat they have all the building blocks to start building a really, really goodteam,” McCarty said.
“It’s a fantastic, tradition-rich and probably theclub with the most tradition in MLS. Excellent fan base and just a place I’mreally, really looking forward to going.”