Tyler Adams was phenomenal in the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Mexico on Tuesday night. He is the superstar around which this new era should be built.
The United States Men’s National Team is entering a new era. They announced that as soon as the humiliating failure to qualify for the summer’s World Cup was complete. Out with the old guard, or at least some of the old guard, and in with the new.
That meant that there was an opportunity for a new raft of superstars to take centre stage as the leading lights of U.S. soccer, Christian Pulisic perhaps being the brightest candidate with his move to Borussia Dortmund establishing him on not just a domestic but also a European level.
But while Pulisic may be the most natural fit to take on the mantle of the new superstar, he is not the type of player upon which a team is built. A mercurial, enigmatic but brilliant winger is a certainly needed individual. But they’re hardly the most reliable class of player.
More from MLS Multiplex
- Javier Milei Elected in Argentina: Potential Impacts on MLS and Signings of Argentine Players
- Orlando City and New York City FC in the Battle for Matías Arezo; Grêmio Enters Negotiations! Who Will Come Out on Top?
- USA, Honduras, Panama, and Canada Close in on a Spot in the 2024 Copa America
- De Gea Turns Down Al-Nassr’s Lucrative Offer: Speculation Points to Possible Reunion with Messi at Inter Miami
- Messi’s Magnetic Impact in the United States
Perhaps, then, the USMNT should be looking elsewhere for their inspiration. Perhaps, instead, they should be looking to the beating heart of one MLS’ very best teams. Perhaps, they should be looking at a 19-year-old, striding, game-conducting, tough-tackling, utterly complete midfielder. Perhaps they should be looking at Tyler Adams.
Adams stared as the anchor of the USMNT midfield on Tuesday night in a 1-0 win over Mexico. He was outstanding. The U.S.’s performance may have left much to be desired, especially through the first 40 minutes or so, but that was not the fault of Adams. He was excellent, even when those around him were faltering.
And that has been a running theme for the New York Red Bulls star: consistently, reliably, sometimes brilliantly, producing right at the heart of the team, in the very heat of battle. This is a player who relishes the fight but also has the quality to partake in the dance. Both sides of his game were on full display against Mexico.
His goal, for instance, was brilliant because of the calmness of the finish, the composure to steady himself as he arrived at the ball, the intelligence to place the shot into the bottom corner, rather than just swing his foot through it, possibly wildly, and just hope for the best.
But just focusing on the finish misses the desire, the energy, the awareness, vision and anticipation to get himself into that position in the first place. Had Adams not seen the opportunity and then had the effort and stamina and athleticism to run 30 or 40 yards, the finish wouldn’t have mattered. The chance wouldn’t have existed.
Adams is a player of outstanding measurables, as they say in the NFL draft. Speed, agility, power, size, balance and stamina. But that belies his quality on the ball, his technical skill, his mental awareness, his reading of the game, his vision and anticipation.
This is a special player precisely because he can do a little bit of everything. That is what makes him a superstar. That is what makes him the person the USMNT should be building around.