USA’s McCarty values Gold Cup chance
USA midfielder Dax McCarty (pictured) is looking to make his first-ever appearance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup this month. (Photo: Andrew Katsampes/isiphotos.com)
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EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut -- Realizing time is running out on a bid to secure a regular spot on the United States national team, Dax McCarty plans to make the most of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The Chicago Fire star took an important step towards that objective Saturday, earning man of the match honors in the 2-1 international friendly win over Ghana.

"It's an honor," the midfielder said after the match at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.  "Very appreciative. Very humbling."

McCarty hoped that it will be the start of something big, such as featuring regularly in the Gold Cup.  The five-time continental champion opens against Panama in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday.

"It's going to be a very big opportunity for me," he remarked.  "Obviously, a little bit more of a veteran guy on the roster.  Just trying to do my part in being a good leader, try to help the young guys.  We have a lot of really talented players, who are all going to be big parts of the national team.”

With only nine caps to his credit, over the years, the 30-year-old has found himself behind Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman in the pecking order.

"Who knows how much longer I have to be able to enjoy these camps?" finished McCarty.  "So, I want to try to enjoy every moment I get to the step on the field.  Tonight was an awesome moment.  To be able to contribute in this game and hopefully some games in the Gold Cup, it’s going to be a great feeling.  I never take representing my country for granted."