Tommy Mac. A player forever embedded into the early folklore of the New York City Football Club. With his elegant locks of hair, pure missile strikes from distance, and tenacious midfield play, the West Nyack native became a fan favorite during the 2015 and ‘16 campaigns.
TMac entered the current season riding high from his best year as a pro and was expected to play a major role in Patrick Vieira’s squad, even with the influx of midfield players that were expected to take starting spots immediately (Maxi Moralez, Alex Ring, and Yangel Herrera). Tommy ‘the Machine’ McNamara started out the season coming off the bench, logging a few lackluster appearances in which he seemed out of his rhythm. There would be flashes here an there of the Tommy Mac of old, but they haven’t fully materialized into the rampaging ‘Messi Lite’ that had New York supporters feeling so enamored. He just struggles to make an impact on games.
A regular occurrence this year is noticing around the 60-77th minute that Tommy McNamara is indeed on the field of play. In fact, as the announcer also notices this, he remarks that he’s been on the field the entire match. The entire match, you say?
Even through the struggles, Vieira remained steadfast in his commitment and belief in McNamara, even giving him starting opportunities; opportunities that some feel would be better spent on our young, fresh talent.
Considering that there is a much-improved supporting cast on the field that loves to move the ball and get forward around him, there is no discernible reason for his production to drop off as it has.
What could be preventing one of our heroes from continuing his run of form from 2016?
As mentioned above, the additions of Maxi, Ring, and Herrera immediately put TMac’s playing time in serious jeopardy. Maybe the competition became too much and is adversely effecting him. Maybe he’s pushing too hard to make his mark and nothing is coming together. Maybe the chemistry just isn’t there like it was with last year’s team.
Vieira’s Strategy Realized
For the first time, Viera has been able to field a full starting 11 that embodies how he coaches the game and the particular way he insists on winning. In 2016, Viera had to hold the ship together with duct tape and Pirlo. This year, truly building up from the back and keeping things compact has this team looking different.
Through this evolution, maybe Tmac is finding himself on the outside looking in. PV still routinely gives him playing time, but we can also admit that the team isn’t great in the depth department, perhaps making him a necessity when his role in this team really shouldn’t be more than that of a spark off the bench.
But... maybe none of these are the reason for the drop off. Maybe it’s something else.
So, where in the world is our Tommy Mac? Is this short-haired impostor just that, a nefarious doppelganger straight from the Black Lodge? Did Tommy wake up one morning after having a vision-dream where he learned that he wouldn’t have a great 2017 season and was told that he should cut his hair and then grow it back so that he can blame the poor performance on the haircut? Is there a nagging injury that he’s playing through? Is this article nonsense?
These are all questions we may never have the answer to. Or, as the good Reverend would say, “Why, are we on this particular mission, we will never know. But I do know, here today, that the Pigeons will emerge victorious once again.”