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.