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February 25, 2013
McCarty says he will be ready for Portland

Dax McCarty:says he will be ready to play at the Portland Timbers.
Dax McCarty:says he will be ready to play at the Portland Timbers.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

NEW YORK -- Just about the only way to get Dax McCarty out of the lineup is through a suspension or having a piano fall on him, he wants to play so much.

So missing two Red Bulls pre-season games at the Tucson Desert Diamond Cup last week was the last thing the veteran Red Bulls midfielder wanted to do.

But he was forced to take a seat on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury. He glad he followed the team doctor's orders or he would not be in any shape to play for the Red Bulls in their season opener at the Portland Timbers on Sunday.

"I'll be ready to go in Portland," McCarty said at Red Bulls media day at the Pier 59 Studios on Monday night.

McCarty, who missed losses first-round losses to the New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders, returned for New York's 2-0 defeat to the New England Revolution in Saturday's third-place match. He played 16 minutes after replacing Eric Alexander in the 74th minute.

"I'm a guy -- ask anyone -- I want to be on the field, whether I got a broken leg or 100 percent healthy," he said. "Even missing those games in pre-season was difficult for me. I didn't want to miss those gams because I know that's a good time to work with the guys."

But head coach Mike Petke and his staff had other ideas.

"But at the end of the day, Mike told me and the training staff told me was that I needed to be 100 percent to go for the season and not at 75 percent like I was," McCarty said. "I'm still working my fitness up because I missed a week. I need to be sure my fitness is where it needs to be. I think I am on the right track."

McCarty said he was dealing with a nagging hamstring injury for three weeks, which he picked up during pre-season training in Bradenton, Fla.

"I thought it was something I just could play through and not have any problems about it," he said. "But unfortunately, it didn't go away in Arizona, so I had to do the smart thing and make sure that I got it 100 percent healthy. ... I got a couple of minutes in the last game, which was good for me. I needed that. I needed to push it. I feel a lot better. I'll be ready for Portland."
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