The Hudson River Derby is almost here and Tommy McNamara is determined to take Red Bull Arena by storm.
A native New Yorker, McNamara knows exactly what this match means to NYCFC supporters and is ready to help deliver a first-ever win in Harrison, New Jersey.
McNamara said: “We feel confident in ourselves, confident in what we’re doing to prepare this week and how today has gone preparing already. We feel confident in our ability and that’s how we feel going into the game.
“I always want to win every game that I play in - with the Red Bulls, probably a little bit more because of everything.
“I think of our fans. I think that it brings to mind how well they’ve taken to us over the years and how they’ve supported us as a club and not only does it mean a lot to us as the players and coaching staff but it means a lot to the supporters, and we want to give that back to them.”
Will NYCFC change their style to accommodate for Red Bulls’ high pressing style? McNamara says not.
The 26-year old feels NYCFC’s best chance is to be committed to the gameplan which has served the team well over the first half of the campaign.
“They press very hard and they press very well, they spend a lot of time working on it, I’m sure, over the past couple years with Jesse Marsch," McNamara posited.
“They do a good job of turning us over in very dangerous spots on our end, which is where a lot of their goals have come from in the past. That’s their style of play, we know that, we understand that and we’re still going to stick to our style of play.
“We feel like if we’re on, and we’re committed, and we’re focused, that we can do well in this game.”
Tommy spent the opening weeks of the season on the bench but has worked his way back into the XI, starting the last four games.
Whether that’s been in the center of midfield or on the wing, McNamara is just happy to contribute wherever he’s needed - even if he prefers a central berth.
He told reporters: “I feel more comfortable playing as an attacking midfielder, centrally. I have no problem playing out wide when, a lot of times, it involves me coming inside, it’s more or less the same thing.”
Yangel Herrera is likely to take his Hudson River Derby bow on Saturday in the heart of midfield.
The Venezuelan was an influential figure in the 2-1 win against Seattle and Tommy has been impressed by what he’s seen so far from the 19-year old.
“Yangel’s a very talented player,” McNamara added, “He’s obviously very young too, which is great for him. I’m very happy for him.
“He does a lot of things well on the soccer field, and so obviously he’s such a talented player. He’s very athletic as well, which helps any team. You can see the difference that he’s made in our team when he’s played in games.”