Dax McCarty Needs No Motivation For Sunday’s Rivalry Match

New York Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty is not upset one bit that New York City F.C. celebrated their 2-0 derby win earlier this month with exuberance. In fact, it doesn’t matter much to him.

Following their 2-0 win over the Red Bulls on July 3, NYCFC’s David Villa posted a photo on social media showing his teammates mugging for the camera after what was their first win in the Hudson River Derby. Red Bulls fans collectively rolled their eyes, noting their all-time lead in the series was 4-1 even after the early July defeat. Even some NYCFC fans thought it was a bit too much glory for a single win in July.

But following a 7-0 Red Bulls win at Yankee Stadium earlier this season, the win by NYCFC was cathartic and has helped propel them to top of the Eastern Conference. Now on Sunday at Red Bull Arena, it is the Red Bulls who could use a win given their struggles over the past month.

And in the eyes of McCarty, the Red Bulls’ captain, no photo is motivation to get three points.

“No, not at all. I think that’s fair. I don’t mean any disrespect with this comment, but if you don’t beat a team for the first four times you play them and then finally get a win, it’s going to feel good. That’s s fine. I don’t mind them celebrating it one bit. That’s fair. We celebrated after we won our games; it just shows you that it means a little bit more too both teams,” McCarty said on Friday following training.

“That stuff is all crap, it doesn’t mean anything to me. I think that if you win a game, you should feel the right to celebrate however you want. Both teams come into this game highly motivated to win, just because they post a picture doesn’t make them more angry or more motivated to play against them. I’m always highly motivated to play against them and beat them. I think their victory, while it sucked for us and hurt, it made the rivalry more real. Obviously they had to win a game against us to make it more competitive. We always knew it was a competitive game, but certainly now with them in first place and them in really good form, it means more to us now.”

The extra motivation, he says, all boils down to the proximity of these two teams. The MetroStars, now the Red Bulls, were an MLS original franchise in 1996 and were supposed to be a glamour team in MLS. They struggled through years at Giants Stadium as the league went through growing pains. Now with their own beautiful soccer-specific stadium just minutes from the PATH, they now have to share the market they fought so hard to be relevant in with their upstarts in the Bronx.

NYCFC has come in with big purchases and fanfare, trying to dominate the market. The Red Bulls’ response?

A Supporters Shield last year, their second such title in the past three years.

“It’s just the fact that it’s our close neighbors, derby game. It means a lot to the fans, it means a hell of a lot to the fans. I’m always motivated to win games in MLS; you always want to get three points when you step on the field,” McCarty said.

“A game against NYCFC certainly means more to me more than a game against San Jose or a team in the West that we don’t see very often.  We see these guys a lot, potentially if both teams keep up a decent run of form, there’s a high chance we see these guys in the playoffs. Whenever you get a chance to beat them, you want to take it. I know both teams will be wanting to win this game badly for the fans.”