Tyler Adams is not the sort of player expected to score a lot of goals. Not at this point in his career anyway. Maybe he will become the next Naby Keita at RB Leipzig. Maybe he will simply be the one and only Tyler Adams.
He’s been a big deal for RBNY for a while now and it is to be hoped he goes on to be a big deal for RBL. His real strengths will be analyzed and recounted in the days, weeks and months to come. But Once A Metro would like to bid Adams farewell and wish him all the best in Bundesliga with a brief recollection of some of the best of the small but significant number of goals he’s scored in his career to date.
Thanks for the memories, Tyler.
Here are five goals (on four occasions) that contributed to making Tyler Adams the sort of player RB Leipzig decided it had to have for itself.
The time he broke Chelsea
Chelsea swaggered into Red Bull Arena in July 2015 as the reigning Premier League champion. The assignment was a routine pre-season victory lap in the USA: get a little sun, soak up the adoration of a few tens of thousands of American fans, wallop some local opposition.
The New York Red Bulls seemed happy to oblige. Chelsea’s starting lineup included Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, and Cesc Fabregas; at half-time, Eden Hazard, John Terry, and Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were among the subs to join the game. RBNY, preoccupied with its own season, fielded a reserve team comprising mostly players Red Bulls fans might have been surprised to learn were contracts to their club. Daniel Bedoya, Chris Tsonis, Konrad Plewa, and yes, even Tyler Adams: these were not names RBNY fans were accustomed to hearing mentioned when their team was playing in MLS.
Chelsea was in pre-season, sure. But the best team in the Premier League can reasonably expect to beat a team of wannabe MLSers on most days. Loic Remy gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead to take into half-time.
But the Red Bulls that day had one advantage of their opponent: they were up for it. Chelsea had nothing in particular to gain from this friendly. RBNY’s reserves were playing the guys they watch on TV, proving they could cut it with the EPL’s big boys. Franklin Castellanos surprised John Terry into a poor back pass, got to it before it reached the ‘keeper - and the Red Bulls were on the board.
And then Castellanos picked out 16-year-old Tyler Adams in space amongst static Chelsea defenders: 2-1 to RBNY.
Sean Davis would score two more for the home team; Eden Hazard got one back for Chelsea: the Red Bulls reserves won 4-2.
Chelsea never really recovered from the shock. Head coach Jose Mourinho was out of a job before Christmas.
The time he scored twice against D.C. United
Life has moved pretty fast for Tyler Adams. In 2015, he turned pro with NYRB II in USL, ruined Chelsea, played in the CONCACAF Men’s U-17 Championship and the FIFA Men’s U-17 World Cup. By the end of that year, he had a first-team deal with RBNY. In 2016, Adams made his MLS debut - 45 minutes against San Jose Earthquakes - and was part of a II-team that won the USL regular-season and Cup. In 2017, he was part of the first US Men’s U-20 Team to win the CONCACAF U-20 Championship title, went to the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup, made his senior men’s national team debut, and established himself as a regular starter in MLS with RBNY.
And he scored his first and second goals in MLS in the same game. Against RBNY’s age-old rival, D.C. United.
It was September, approaching the end of a frustrating 2017 campaign for the Red Bulls. Head coach Jesse Marsch had repeatedly shuffled his lineup looking for a formula that might bring more consistent results and at least see his stuttering side into the playoffs. He ultimately settled on a formation that saw Adams - typically a central midfielder for RBNY - at right wing back.
Adams handled the assignment very well. And against DCU, his first MLS goal provided a memorable highlight of how he can apply his talents to playing in wide positions.
He followed that with a second as RBNY scrapped through a back-and-forth game to a 3-3 draw.
The time he settled RBNY’s nerves in CONCACAF Champions League
In March 2018, RBNY was focused on a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Tijuana. The first leg in Mexico went very well for the Red Bulls: a 2-0 win provided a solid cushion to take home for the second leg. All RBNY needed to do was close out the series at Red Bull Arena.
But Tijuana threatened to spoil the party - scoring first and early. Another Tijuana goal and the series would be tied with all the momentum favoring the Liga MX side.
But the Red Bulls did not panic, and Adams got on the end of a cross to tap in for an equalizer in the 28 minute. Any anxiety was settled, two more goals followed for RBNY and the club was in the CCL semifinals for the first time in its history.
The time he beat El Tri
Mexico is the US Men’s National Team’s biggest rival. If you play for USMNT you want to play Mexico and beat Mexico - most pertinently because it is very often playing and beating Mexico that stands between the USA and its international soccer ambitions: Gold Cups, World Cup qualifying, very probably the forthcoming CONCACAF Nations League.
So if you’re playing against Mexico for USMNT, even in a friendly of little consequence to either side, it’s a good time to score your first ever goal for your country. Tyler Adams did that on September 11, 2018 - scoring the first and only goal for USMNT in a 1-0 win.
Enjoy Leipzig, Tyler. Enjoy Tyler, Leipzig. We’ll be watching.