Fire

Dax McCarty says Fire need to win for him to be a part of the national team

Dax McCarty says Fire need to win for him to be a part of the national team

Dax McCarty isn't shy about speaking his mind.

The Fire midfielder made that clear when he spoke against the way the New York Red Bulls handled his January trade to the Chicago Fire.

He proved it again after Saturday's 2-0 win in the Fire's home opener. The Fire scored two goals in the first 15 minutes of the match, but absorbed a lot of pressure from Real Salt Lake in the second half.

Despite a 2-0 win and a positive 1-0-1 start to the season, McCarty still found plenty for the Fire to improve upon when talking to Paul Tenorio in the on-field interview after the match on CSN Chicago.

"We scored two good goals and then after that the quality really dropped off," McCarty said. "Holding on in the second half. The second half was nowhere near good enough. Try to take the positives from the first half and obviously we have to work on some things still."

Possession was one thing McCarty harped on. RSL had 58 percent of the possession for the match and 61 percent in the second half.

McCarty is coming from a team in the Red Bulls which was one of the best teams in the league in possession. The Fire were last in time of possession in Major League Soccer in 2016.

"I just think in general sometimes we sit a little bit too deep and invite too much pressure on ourselves," McCarty said. "But with that being said, just not good enough keeping the ball in the second half. We just give them the ball back every time and they keep ramming it down our throats and it's just a cycle so we got kind of lucky in the second half not to concede, but it's a good shutout and a good win."

This may not be uncharacteristic for McCarty, but he has extra motivation for the Fire to be successful this season. Before Saturday's match McCarty talked with Aaron West of Fox Sports about his new chance to play for the U.S. national team.

With Bruce Arena as coach McCarty has already been called in for the annual January training camp during the MLS offseason. McCarty did not make any national team appearances under Jurgen Klinsmann, the previous manager.

"I feel like my performances with Chicago will go a long way towards determining if I'm a part of the national team," McCarty said. "So, I'm highly motivated to help Chicago win because I'm a big believer that players that play for the national team should be a part of winning teams."

So McCarty not only wants to win for the sake of competitive nature, but he's trying to make a strong case to get on the national team. It won't take long to see if his case is good enough. The national team plays World Cup qualifiers on March 24 against Honduras and March 28 at Panama.

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

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USA Today

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

MLS soccer is coming back this summer.

The league announced a plan to have all 26 MLS clubs resume play on July 8 with a league-wide “MLS is Back Tournament.”

The games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, without fans in the stands.

Here’s how it will work:

Clubs can arrive in Orlando to begin training on June 24. Then a group stage will begin July 8 followed by a knockout stage, starting July 25.

There will be six groups, three for each the Western and Eastern Conferences. The group stage draw will occur on June 11 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Each team will play three group stage matches, and the results from those games will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings.

Then the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place finishers will advance to the knockout stage. That stage starts with a round-of-16, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and then the championship game. The championship game will be played on August 11.

In case of a tie at the end of regulation in the knockout stage, games will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.

The winner of the tournament will earn a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

At the conclusion of the tournament, MLS will resume its regular season followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

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MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

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USA TODAY

MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday the cancelation of three marquee 2020 events in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup have all been canceled, the league announced Tuesday. Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. was set to host the All-Star game on July 29, and MLS said the 2021 event is now expected to take place at the same venue. 

MLS will resume negotiations with LIGA MX with hopes of squaring off in the 2021 exhibition match.

The second annual Leagues Cup tournament was set to occur between July and September, featuring top MLS and LIGA MX teams. The two leagues canceled the event in a joint decision and plan to play the tournament next year.

Similarly, MLS and LIGA MX jointly canceled the Campeones Cup, which features the reigning MLS champion against the LIGA MX's Campeón de Campeones winner. The 2020 event was scheduled for Aug. 12 at CenturyLink field, home of Seattle Sounders FC. It will return in 2021.