And he’s played a total of 38 minutes in two appearances through the first eight matches of the season.
McNamara, who joins David Villa as the only remaining members from the 2015 expansion season, was clear this week that despite a reduction in playing time, he remains confident in his ability to contribute to his club.
“For me, I had a good preseason, I’ve been training very well and playing well,” McNamara said at the unveiling of NYCFC’s new training facility in Orangeburg, N.Y. – three miles from where he grew up. “The competition is better than it has ever been at this club. It’s a good thing. It’s been healthy for the club, its been healthy for myself. I feel I’m in a good moment and I’m playing well and it’s up to the coaching staff to make decisions.”
Though the 27-year-old New Yorker previously enjoyed a high level of success in the starting XI or as a key reserve, he said the lack of playing time on game days has not been a setback in his development.
“To be quite honest, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in this league,” McNamara said. “I feel like I’m playing better than I’ve ever played. Obviously I’ve hardly played this year so it’s difficult to see, but I personally feel in a better place than before.”
In his first three years with NYCFC, McNamara contributed 13 goals and 14 assists in 76 games. Consequently, he is disappointed that his impact on gameday has been limited.
“It’s frustrating of course – everybody wants to be playing,” McNamara said. “I desperately want to play as well. I’m working hard and training very well and waiting for opportunities.”
His second appearance of the season came Sunday night in Portland. McNamara entered the match with his side trailing 3-0 and just 20 minutes to find a result.
“It was a difficult situation but I felt that at least I brought a little something to the team,” McNamara said. “I got the ball into the box for David and created other situations – ultimately it didn’t result in anything but it was situations that we didn’t get very many of prior to that.”
McNamara is hopeful that the coaching staff noted those chances he helped craft at Providence Park but regardless of the verdict he is thankful for the occasion to be tutored by Vieira.
“He definitely has improved me as a player,” McNamara said. “It’s not like he brought out this one thing that I would never have been able to do before. It’s more my understanding of the game – my knowledge of the game has improved greatly. He’s asked me specifically to do things I’ve never been made aware of before or asked to do.”