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Tommy McNamara has earned the right to play international soccer. Will Ireland come calling?

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It would be great if Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT had a clue. Since they totally don't, it's fine time for the Emerald Isle to join the Cult of McNamara.

Like Jason Terry before him, T-Mac takes flight.
Like Jason Terry before him, T-Mac takes flight.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't simply that the finish was gorgeous. Sure, it was, and dazzlingly so. Rarely in NYCFC's short history have so many jaws hit the floor in unison.

But the backdrop for Tommy McNamara's game-winning smasher at Providence Park -- that impeccable top-shelf looper that stole the air from the collective lungs of the Timbers Army -- could not have been more poetic.

It was at that very same ground in April of 2014 that McNamara, then a rookie with Chivas USA, fell to earth. His career seemed to fall with him.

Without contact, T-Mac hit the deck clutching his right knee. The utter pain of the moment was palpable. Twenty-five minutes from full time, and just six games into an MLS career that saw the man scoring in his debut, Tommy McNamara had torn his ACL.

The prognosis was downright apocalyptic.

"Sadly, it looks pretty bad right now. Obviously it’s not promising for us. That’s the sad part of this game," Chivas gaffer Wilmer Cabrera said after the game. "We lost a very important player."

It would be a full year before McNamara played again. But play he did. The West Nyack native leaped right out of his own grave, and in that famous Etihad shirt began to forge a cult following for his creativity on the ball, particular sturdiness of build, and that legendary hair.

But most importantly, those long distance stunners. I mean, damn.

At the end of March, just three weeks into the MLS season, our friend Dylan Butler reported that T-Mac had been contacted by the Football Association of Ireland in order to verify that he holds both American and Irish passports.

Indeed, he does, through his Irish-born paternal grandfather. As he told MLSSoccer.com, "I think it’s an honor to represent the national team. Obviously I qualify for both and it would be an honor to represent either."

Let's set aside the politics and the noise. After yet another game-changing performance -- on the road against the defending MLS Cup champions, no less -- it's time for Ireland to pull the trigger on Tommy McNamara.

Listen, I'm a United States American, and these colors don't run. I don't want to make America great again-- she already is. My spirit animal is Hacksaw Jim Duggan. But the U.S. Men's National Team doesn't fill me with starry-stripey heaps of pride. It just doesn't; the team isn't good enough. Do I root for them, and hard? Surely, yes. I go hard body karate. But as someone who wants to watch Tommy McNamara play as much magical, mystical soccer as possible, our boy needs to go to Ireland.

I'm convinced that even if Jurgen Klinsmann & Co. were to extend the invitation to T-Mac (hell, even Khiry Shelton is on their radar, so it's not impossible to imagine), Ireland is still the best option. With under-30 players Michael Bradley, Darlington Nagbe, Mix Diskerud, and Lee Nguyen all ahead in the queue, plus a likely return to the fold for the resurgent Jermaine Jones, major USMNT minutes for a guy like McNamara, who turned 25 in February and has no amateur-level national team experience, is not foreseeable at this time. And that's without even accounting for Klinsmann's batty, indefensible penchant for playing wide men like Alejandro Bedoya woefully out of position in the middle.

Maybe the post-Klinsmann USMNT landscape will read differently, but it may very well be that the Irish have already made their move by the time America's current gaffer has given way following the 2018 World Cup.

In the particular context of the Irish squad, McNamara's path isn't exactly obscured. Center forwards excluded, here's a sampling of a few recently capped, attacking-oriented Irish players who don't play almost exclusively in the wide positions (as with Aidan McGeady, James McClean, Robbie Brady, etc.):

PLAYER
CLUB
AGE
INT'L CAPS
INT'L GOALS
INT'L ASSISTS
Wes Hoolahan
Norwich
33
27
2
7
James McCarthy
Everton
25
35
0
1
Stephen Quinn
Reading
30
15
0
0


No matter how you slice it, most of Ireland's midfield creativity comes from its full-time wingers. Add all this to the fact that, among Ireland's primary goal scorers -- Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, and Jonathan Walters -- only Long is currently under 30 years of age.

Just for kicks, consider that Ireland is perhaps the most MLS-friendly national team in all of Europe: even after departing the British Isles for the U.S., Keane (LA Galaxy) and Doyle (Colorado Rapids) have remained in good favor with the Republic side, and are in line to figure heavily into its plans at this summer's European Championship in France.

It isn't simply that an audacious talent like Tommy McNamara has a path to play for Ireland. Looking at that roster post-Euro 2016, considering that the FAI is already keeping tabs on our boy, that path may prove to be much more direct than any of us would have figured even a few short months ago.

If Irish eyes end up smiling on him, the Five Boroughs will smile right along. But whatever the future holds, one thing grows clearer and clearer in the present:

The MLS stage alone isn't big enough for Tommy Mac. Why shouldn't he spread those wings in Europe, too?