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Bulls Abroad: Tyler Adams plays full 90 in first cap for USMNT

MLS: D.C. United at New York Red Bulls Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After a stellar first season for the New York Red Bulls in which he played in a variety of different roles, Tyler Adams earned his first call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team senior squad, and was given his first cap as a start in a friendly against Portugal.

Following the USMNT’s failure to qualify for the World Cup and the resignation of head coach Bruce Arena, interim coach Dave Sarachan decided to bring in mostly young or newly-eligible players for the November camp. Adams, was one of four teenagers brought to camp, along with fellow American wonderkids Weston McKinnie, Josh Sargent and Cameron Carter-Vickers. Sargent was forced to leave camp early, leaving Adams as the youngest member of the squad.

On November 14, Adams was named to the starting XI for the friendly against Portugal and was joined on the pitch by fellow Red Bulls academy alumni Matt Miazga and Juan Agudelo, now with Vitesse and New England respectively.

As for the game itself, the USMNT were pitted against a mostly B-team Portugal squad, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani among the biggest absentees. A 21’ goal by Weston McKinnie was equalized at the 31st minute by Portugal’s Vitorino Antunes largely due to a major gaffe by goalkeeper Ethan Horvath. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Adams himself was positioned as a midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation and was one of the stars of the show. As was common during the 2017 MLS season, he played with a non-stop motor and showed great touch on the ball.

His performance will almost certainly guarantee a spot in the January camp (though that could change if Sarachan is replaced before then), and is continuing to make European clubs’ mouths water at the prospect of signing him.