Midfielder Tommy McNamara has reached a workable understanding with New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena and the rest of his staff.
The Revolution rely on McNamara to perform a lot of everything without ever asking him to do too much.
That might sound convoluted but it isn’t. McNamara is one of the most versatile players in MLS who can function effectively in the three areas of the pitch.
McNamara possess an adaptable multipurpose skillset that has kept him a viable player in the league for nine seasons. McNamara has played in 191 regular season MLS games with 134 starts and has been a fixture in Arena’s starting group for the past two seasons.
“I am all good with it,” said McNamara following Thursday’s session at the team’s practice facility in Foxboro. “I have obviously been versatile throughout my whole career and I played in different ways and been asked to do different things,”
“What I appreciate is the coaching staff understands my qualities and where I’m good and where I’m not good. They ask me to do things that fit with that and don’t ask me to be a player that I am not.”
McNamara could be placed in the center or on either flank of the midfield when the Revolution (6-5-5) engage the Vancouver Whitecaps (5-6-3) in an interconference match on Sunday night (8 ET) at BC Place.
McNamara and Revolution rainmaker Carles Gil, the league’s reigning MVP, are the only players who have appeared in every game as they approach the midpoint of the season. McNamara has competed in 16 games with 13 starts and logged 1,102 minutes, the fourth most on the team.
“I don’t really over think it or start wondering what is going to happen,” said McNamara. “At the beginning of the week or later in the week, whatever he decides what my role for that weekend will be whether it is in the middle of the field, or wide or if it’s off the bench.
“I wrap my head around it at that point in time and get myself focused and prepared. I try and put in a good performance for what the team needs specific to what position and role I’m playing that week.”
Arena knew what he was getting when the Revolution acquired McNamara in a trade from the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 17, 2020. The 5-9, 170-pound, native of West Nyack, N.Y., is one of those indestructible types with a nonstop motor. McNamara is excellent defending the midfield and helping out the back end.
But there is an offensive component to his game. McNamara’s lone goal was a game winner to go along with an assist and 11 shots. McNamara is willing to mix it up with 19 fouls committed while sustaining eight. The Revolution recently completed busy a stretch of three games in eight days (2-0-1) and McNamara started two of them.
“He is versatile player and he can play any of the positions in the midfield and has,” said Arena. “He is real asset for us and he is having another good season.
“I thought his last game was a really good one against Minnesota on a day when our team didn’t play particularly well. Tommy hung in there and played and that whole week we got some really good minutes out of him.”