Tommy McNamara celebrates his goal vs. Red Bulls 3

Tommy McNamara Praised for Recent Performances

Not surprisingly, David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo garner the majority of the headlines regarding New York City FC.

But there are other non-Designated Players on the roster who are starting to make a name for themselves.

Kwadwo Poku stole the show with three assists in the 5-3 victory over Orlando City SC on July 26. Following this past weekend's 3-2 loss to Montreal, Tommy McNamara earned praise from head coach Jason Kreis for his steadying and effective performances in the midfield.

"I think Tommy McNamara’s performances need to be spoken about more," Kreis said. "He was the only player in the first half that was moving and really trying to make something happen when we had the ball. That effort was fantastic on his part and he was rewarded by scoring the goal in the second half. He’s a player I think is really showing some hunger to push things on to do well for himself and this team.”

McNamara, 24, has four goals and two assists in the last nine matches (all starts), including two goals and one assist in the past two matches. The midfielder scored in the 85th minute in the loss to the Impact and drew the penalty in the 68th minute that David Villa converted to get New York City FC on the board.

"That's what I expect of myself," McNamara said. "I expect to put an effort in every time I step on the field representing this Club, this fan base, my family, my friends and this state. That's what I expect out of myself."

McNamara's first start for New York City FC on June 6 at Philadelphia was a memorable one. He scored a 25-yard bomb that not only helped the Club win the match 2-1, but it was also his first goal since his MLS debut with Chivas USA on March 9, 2014.

That strike was also named MLS Goal of the Week -- the first such accolade in New York City FC history.

The modest McNamara again deflected praise and instead commended his teammates and the vital three points acquired on the road.

"We wanted to get the three points," he said following the victory. "Whoever scored the goals scored the goals and it happened to be me today. It’s icing on the cake."

McNamara, who was drafted 20th overall (second round) by Chivas USA in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, unfortunately had his rookie campaign cut short due to injury. After starting the first six matches of his career, McNamara tore his ACL and had to undergo season-ending surgery.

He was acquired fourth overall by D.C. United in the 2014 MLS Dispersal Draft on Nov. 19. A month later, New York City FC selected the West Nyack resident 16th in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 10.

"I was hoping to end up here," he said. "D.C. had selected me earlier and I was happy with that then New York took me and I was even more excited about that."

McNamara's excitement and confidence have continued to build as he's become a staple in the New York City FC Starting XI. Not only that, but he is now playing alongside two of the greatest and most decorated midfielders in the game -- Lampard and Pirlo.

Pirlo made his New York City FC debut on July 26 against Orlando City SC, while Lampard made his a week later against Montreal.

"It’s a very unique experience, a very unique opportunity and I’m excited about it," he said. "They’re two of the best players to ever play the game and they’re currently still two of the best midfielders playing football. For me, I’m just trying to learn anything I can from them and try to improve my game by learning from them."

Learning shouldn't be an issue for the Brown University graduate.

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