Locally, the Dax McCarty trade was a big deal for the Chicago Fire because it gave the team a league-experienced midfielder and a former MLS All-Star.
Nationally, the McCarty trade was a big deal because he was the captain of a contending team and he was not pleased with how he exited the New York Red Bulls.
With that behind him, McCarty began assimilating into his new team during the Fire's preseason in Florida. McCarty joined late after being with the U.S. National Team for the start of the Fire's preseason and coach Veljko Paunovic giving him some extra time after playing for the U.S. in a friendly against Serbia on Jan. 29.
"Obviously a quick turnaround from national team camp," McCarty said. "Luckily I was fortunate enough to talk to Pauno and he gave me the weekend after a national team game to come here with my wife and kind of get a lay of the land a little bit. I've been to Chicago plenty of times, but never really that in-depth. I found a place relatively quickly. After that I flew down to meet the team in Florida for preseason."
Once in Florida, McCarty played in five of the Fire's six preseason games. In four of those five he started next to fellow midfield acquition Juninho. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said one of the bright spots of the preseason was how easily the two fit into midfield. The two have 16 MLS seasons between them.
Beyond appearing to fit well with his new midfield partner, McCarty said he has had little problem settling in with his new teammates. Part of that is from familiarity with some of them, including former college teammate Michael Harrington, who was at McCarty's wedding just before he was traded to the Fire.
"It's been really good," McCarty said. "I've known a couple of the guys from my past that are on the team now. I played with Arturo Alvarez in Dallas for a couple years. I played at University of North Carolina with Michael Harrington so it's been a pretty easy transition."
This was the third trade of McCarty's career. He was taken by Portland in the 2010 expansion draft and then traded for D.C. Eight months later he was traded from D.C. to the Red Bulls.
"Obviously not the first time I've changed teams," McCarty said. "I kind of know how the transition works. Obviously it's just the same as any other preseason, trying to get ready for an important season for the Fire."