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Tyler Adams’ inclusion in USMNT squad for Nations League a “risk worth taking”

The health status of Tyler Adams was one of the big question marks heading into Monday’s announcement of the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the Concacaf Nations League finals, but the inclusion of the RB Leipzig midfielder on the roster hasn’t settled whether or not he will actually be available when the Americans take on Honduras on June 3.

It shouldn’t have come as any surprise that Berhalter would include Adams and give him at least another week to recover from the back injury that sidelined him at the end of the Bundesliga season. He remains the unquestioned top choice in the defensive midfield role in Berhalter’s midfield, though injuries have limited his

“We felt that he’s that important to the team that we want to put him on the roster,” Berhalter said of Adams. “We know we can always replace him if he’s injured. We have enough players in camp to do so. So it was it was a risk worth taking for us.”

Adams missed RB Leipzig’s final five matches of the season, including the DFB Pokal final loss to Borussia Dortmund. It was a disappointing conclusion to what had been a productive and impressive season for Adams, who set a new personal record for most matches played in a season with 37 in all competitions, 10 more than the previous season. He played almost twice as many league matches and league minutes this season than last season, but his late-season injury left his availability for Nations League in question.

“He was touch and go at Leipzig,” Berhalter said. “They held them out of the cup final. He still had a little bit of pain that he was getting treatment for, after the cup final. (He) was preparing for the final day of the weekend and still was struggling a little bit, so he went home to get treated.”

Berhalter’s decision to include both Kellyn Acosta and Jackson Yueill on his roster provides cover in the defensive midfield role if Adams can’t go. Berhalter had high praise for both, including Acosta, who showed well during the March friendlies.

“I think Kellyn did a great job against Jamaica in the friendly,” Berhalter said. “This was a guy that was playing in preseason and came and played 90 minutes against Jamaican and did a really good job. He was a player that we were unsure of how he would perform there, but he took to the role. He understood the role and he executed it really well.”

Yueill missed the March friendlies due to his role as captain of the Olympic qualifying team, where he was one of the team’s few bright spots in a campaign that ultimately ended in failure. The San Jose Earthquakes midfielder has long been admired by Berhalter because of his ability to be the sort of deep-lying distributor Berhalter covets from the defensive midfield role.

“Jackson’s a guy that we’ve grown with,” Berhalter said. “We’ve seen him make his debut against Jamaica in D.C. (in 2019) and then since then, he’s just kept improving, he’s just kept getting better.

“Jackson, in my opinion, is a guy that needs to be tested,” Berhalter said. “And games like Switzerland, Nations League semifinals, hopefully finals, these are games that will test him and that’s exactly what he needs, and then we’ll be able to really determine the difference between those two.”

Berhalter’s comments suggest Yueill will be the one to get the call to start in Nations League if Adams is unavailable, but the Switzerland game will go a long way towards clarifying that battle.

Berhalter will be hoping he won’t have to make that decision, which he can put off if Adams is able to recover from injury in time to face Honduras on June 3.

Comments

    • Yueill is so hard to judge when you watch him with San Jose, Almeyda’s man marking scheme is so crazy. I’d like to see him against Switzerland just to see. The comparisons between Yueill and Trapp is ridiculous, they are totally different players.

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    • do you really think two guys like that are what you want for the thunderdome of honduras, mexico, and costa rica? that is not a touch player tournament.

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      • i don’t think they are suited to the competition. or to the region. well, for that matter i am not sold some descriptions of what berhalter is trying to do, eg, “possession” team, are thinking of concacaf, where teams would just as soon trip you as look at you.
        more to the point, the lousy mexico games of 2018 were bradley yueill trapp. i feel like this theory was tried and failed and we wandered back in the direction of “adams” type players who might actually run down and tackle someone.

  1. Acosta followed up the Jamaica blowout — which shouldn’t say much definitively about anyone — with a lousy game in the more contested Northern Ireland match. This coach is myopic about seeing what he wants to see. (And I even like Acosta sometimes….I just didn’t see two games this spring any better — actually worse — than the several other options.)

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  2. FWIW, Adams was shown arriving in Switzerland on the IG today, which I take as a mildly good sign that he no longer needs whatever extra treatment he was getting stateside. Doubt he’ll be on the pitch in St. Gallen though.

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    • Having gotten a stiff back on a cross-ocean flight before competing at a sporting event abroad, making someone with a back issue fly twice transatlantic is goofy. He should have been here waiting even if he was feeling better. More to the point I don’t get taking injury risks to rush rehab for Regional Tournament A when the player could also take it slow and play Regional Tournament B or be saved for qualifying itself.

      You risk a gimpy player for the world cup, not for “Nations League.”

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      • Probably should leave those decisions to actual medical professionals and who have access to Tyler and no what is going on instead of pure speculation.

      • That sounds cute but standard national team practice is you don’t even leave it to the doctors on players carrying injuries, you omit. Only an idiot risks a player we need for qualifying, to play Rinky Dink Regional Tournament A — particularly when he could rehab and play Regional Tournament B. And surely anyone who has flown a plane across an ocean knows you stiffen up. Do I need an MD to tell me that?

      • He missed games. He is under a doctor’s care. Are you suggesting THAT is speculation? Did we run out Pulisic hurt in November or did we just shut him down? You don’t risk the meal tickets on games that don’t really matter.

      • You don’t have any idea what the injury is or the extent. RBL was already secured in CL spot and really couldn’t move up or down win or lose. Perhaps they did us a solid and didn’t push it since they couldn’t release him in March and let him rest. Even with the season complete RB could say no do to injury but they did not. He still might not play but risk of missing games in September from flights in May is pretty low like less than 1%.

      • Cute to say except he has recurring injuries at which point maybe my idea is not to run him out so fast again this time. My point is I rest him a month and he plays Gold Cup without much worry. I rest him three months and he does qualifying. This is the only competition that even involves calculus and risk. The “injury” out, let’s be blunt, that’s more around to use as a shield during the season than a year round card to play. It’s an exception to release. This is offseason, not a release. I am sure that until camp starts they just tell the player to be smart and consult the doctors. The fact he is receiving treatment means it’s not just a bruise he’s playing through. I personally never got treatment in NCAA. I was either playing games or so broken I was out. So IMO this would be closer to a concern than he just has a wish to see the physical therapist. And standard procedure is if you even have a decision to make, and this is not the world cup finals, you know what to do. No sane team risks longer term involvement to get a tournament out of you.

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