PURCHASE, N.Y. – Tommy McNamara certainly subscribes to the theory of quality over quantity when it comes to his goal-scoring prowess.
The cult hero has hit some aesthetically pleasing goals, including a golazo against the Red Bulls last month (video above), in his two years with New York City FC.
What’s the secret?
“I think I’ve always hit the ball a bit differently because my feet are a little bit different,” McNamara said. “They’re just a little bit duck-footed, they point out a bit more and I think it helps me to open up my body and really hit it well with a little bit of swerve and a bit of dip.”
McNamara said he’s always had that ability, but he’s fine-tuned his shooting since arriving in New York.
“It’s muscle memory,” he said. “I’ve always been able to do it, but a little bit inconsistently when I was younger and in college. The more times you’re doing it in training, when you’re doing shooting drills, it becomes a little more consistent.”
NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said McNamara’s influence is felt in various aspects of NYCFC's game.
“For me what I really love about him is the impact he has on the team when he’s on the field,” he said. “He’s a team player, his work ethic is fantastic and he’s got talent, he’s got quality.”
In addition to four goals, McNamara has a team-high nine assists, good for fourth on the MLS list and one ahead of teammate Andrea Pirlo, who has been invaluable to McNamara the playmaker.
“Playing with Andrea helps because he opens up a lot of space,” McNamara said. “I’m someone who visually picks up on a lot of stuff when I see things happening. Maybe subconsciously playing with Andrea has helped, watching some of the things he does and the passes he attempts.”
While NYCFC’s Designated Players – David Villa, Frank Lampard and Pirlo – have garnered many of the headlines and Jack Harrison is being touted as a Rookie of the Year candidate, Vieira believes McNamara isn’t getting the notice he deserves.
“He’s a really good player. He’s better, much better than people are seeing and what people are talking about,” Vieira said. “He’s one of the players who deserves a lot of respect because he’s doing really well."
As for that patented long-distance bomb, McNamara said no one on the team has given it a nickname, though he’s open to suggestions.
“I don’t have any nicknames and no one on the team that I know of does,” McNamara said. “But feel free to make one.”