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Dax Takes One For The Team

The Fire captain broke from precedent by speaking out about Section 8 and Sector Latino. Will this affect his future in Chicago?

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Fire captain Dax McCarty gave an interview to the Chicago Tribune that was published this week, and it revealed a lot of what’s going on behind the scenes and what went wrong this year. He was even asked about the situation between Sector Latino and the Front Office, a topic that the suits at Toyota Park would rather not have discused. McCarty gave an honest and thorough answer.

“It’s definitely something that the players know about and it’s something that we know something is going on. We want a safe environment and welcoming to everybody and we want an environment that’s loud and that opposing teams are intimidated to come into. The supporters groups, it’s unquestioned that they bring that. Sector Latino and Section 8, they bring that passion and that environment to Toyota Park. My personal hope is that they can figure out a solution and come to an agreement where we can get all the fans back in the stadium happy and supporting us in the fashion that I know would make us a formidable team at home. I really hope that they meet in the offseason. I hope that they can come to some sort of agreement to where all parties are happy because nobody’s winning in this situation.”

Recent history suggests that Dax may be overly optimistic in his assessment. Nelson Rodriguez has not shown a willingness to negotiate in good faith with Sector Latino or Section 8. He’s given no indication his position will change anytime soon. However, with the Crew reportedly staying in Columbus and that crisis averted, MLS fans nationwide may now have a blueprint for demanding meaningful change in Chicago.

Dax went on to share some insights about the team and their performance this year. He called out the Front Office and coaching staff for not keeping to their end of the bargain this year. He called the team “incomplete” and made it clear that he was quite frustrated with the lineup being changed all the time. He wasn’t all negative though, praising the young’ins that got playing time, including creative midfielder Brandt Bronico.

After months and months of conjecture from us and others about what the team thinks about what has been going on this season, we have something approaching an answer. You can tell by the way he answered the questions he’s as upset and frustrated as the rest of us. As he mentioned in the interview, he’s never been in this position before in his career. He’s always been fighting for something at the end of the season, and it feels odd to him to be in a lame duck situation like he is now.

This interview gives voice to all of the acrimony we’ve been dealing with all year. I feel really bad for the guys on the field. They didn’t deserve this unnecessary pressure from the Front Office, nor essentially, having to play with hands tied around their backs due to Veljko Paunovic’s fiddling around with the lineup.

In some ways it’s telling about Dax’s future with the club that he’s chosen to speak out at this time. The FO tend to be unkind to people who dare speak out against the club. They have a history of closing ranks and kicking rabble rousers off the island, as seen in their willingness to revoke media credentials from writers who criticize the Front Office and in Peter Wilt’s testy confrontation with Rodriguez and Sean Dennison this summer. So far, current active roster members haven’t been publicly sanctioned for speaking out. It will be interesting see what happens to Dax. Him speaking out could mean he is not long for the Men in Red. I hope I’m wrong, though.

It’s been a tough year for everybody in the fanbase and on the roster, and it’s almost over. There are only two games left this season.