Patrick Vieira may not have expected a ton out of Tommy McNamara when he took the reins at New York City FC last season, but he’s since seen more than enough from the 26-year-old midfielder to not be surprised at his recent inclusion on the US national team’s preliminary roster for this summer’s Gold Cup.
"He was one of the biggest surprises since working with him last year," Vieira recently told ESPN FC when asked about McNamara. "He's a really smart player who's been doing very well for us, and I'm not surprised he's made the 40-squad for the national team."
One of the more unassuming-looking players in all of MLS, McNamara has become a bit of a cult hero in New York, where he’s registered 12 goals and 13 assists in 61 regular season appearances since 2015, including two strikes and one helper this year. He wasn’t the only NYCFC player named to Bruce Arena’s preliminary 40-man Gold Cup squad, with goalkeeper Sean Johnson also earning a call-up.
Both were praised by NYCFC star David Villa for their inclusion on the initial Gold Cup squad.
"They are both really, really good players," Villa said. "They work hard every day and to have the opportunity to represent their country and national team is great news."