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November 5, 2012
'We didn't play very well' in opening draw at D.C.

Dax McCarty: "Look, We didn't play very well. Let's call it what it is because we didn't play great."
Dax McCarty: "Look, We didn't play very well. Let's call it what it is because we didn't play great."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
All in all, Dax McCarty feels quite fortunate to return home with a 1-1 tie in the Red Bulls' aggregate goals series with D.C. United.

While playing their rivals to a standoff in enemy territory has to be considered a plus in the MLS Eastern Conference series, the veteran midfielder felt New York hardly came close to playing its best in the first leg on Saturday night.

"We didn't play our best," McCarty said after the 1-1 draw. "We know that. We can play better. We're going home and we're hoping to get a win in front of our fans at home."

The Red Bulls host United in the second leg at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night (NBC Sports Network, 8 p.m. ET). Anything would be considered a great improvement, particularly on offense. The Red Bulls put together only a handful of attacks that could be considered consistent.

"Look, We didn't play very well. Let's call it what it is because we didn't play great," McCarty said. "I thought our pressure could have been better. Defensively, we weren't awful. We limited them to some set pieces and whatnot. Luis comes up huge on a penalty kick save, so that gives us some momentum."

"It's a tight affair. We've played D.C. pretty close this whole year, bar the first game against them we played."

The Red Bulls went 1-1-1 against United this season, which includes a 4-1 defeat at D.C. on April 22, a 3-2 home victory on June 24 and a 2-2 deadlock in the nation's capital on Aug. 29.

"We're going back home," McCarty said. "We're going back to Red Bull Arena, where we know we're a good team. We're comfortable there. We need to get a result. We will have to win in front of our fans."

The Red Bulls have lost only twice at home, en route to an 11-2-4 record.

The big question is how many fans will be able to show up -- for several reasons. A nor'easter is on its way up the coast, and it is expected to hit with rain and high winds on Wednesday. And with so many fans without electricity and others trying to get their life back into order after Sandy, the attendance could be spotty.

Several hundred Red Bulls fans rooted on their heroes at RFK Stadium on Saturday night. McCarty called their support "tremendous."

"My hat goes off to them. They braved the weather, made the trip down to support us," he said. "We could hear them. We appreciate it. We just hope that the effects back home and the storm don't keep too many people from Red Bull Arena. We would love to see it full, but obviously people's health and safety are first and foremost priorities.

"If we can get a full stadium, great. If not, we now the people who show up are going to be behind us the whole game and that's hopefully going to spur us on to the next round."
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