Tyler Adams has yet to make his competitive debut for the U.S. Men’s National Team, but could finally get to achieve that feat in Sunday’s Concacaf Nations League Final in Colorado.
Gregg Berhalter confirmed to reporters Saturday that Adams is set for availability in the tournament final against Mexico, after recovering from a back injury suffered near the end of his club season. Adams was listed on the bench for Thursday’s 1-0 semifinal win over Honduras, but was not used in the eventual victory for the Americans.
After missing the final three matches with RB Leipzig earlier this spring, Adams could get the nod as a starter or substitute against El Tri.
“[Adams] is recovered and ready to go, so for us it’s about making the decision on if he’ll start the game or not,” said Berhalter in a conference call Saturday.
The 22-year-old watched as Jackson Yueill, Weston McKennie, and Sebastian Lletget all started in midfielder against Honduras, while Kellyn Acosta also saw time off the bench late in the match. Adams appeared in November friendlies against Wales and Panama, but has not been in the squad since due to his European schedule.
Adams played a key role for RB Leipzig this Bundesliga season, totaling 37 appearances across all competitions and helping the club finish second behind champions Bayern Munich. There is no guarantee that Adams will start against El Tri, in what would be his 13th appearance for the USMNT, but he could play a role in some form.
“You would have the tendency say you want [Adams] on the field but I think the deficiencies weren’t due to personnel,” Berhalter said when asked about why Adams wasn’t used against Honduras. “I think it was due to structure, I really do. When you think about some of our attacks, and some of our positioning, and some of the movement led to us being unbalanced. And it’s not just having Tyler in there is going to solve anything. It’s we need to be better balanced as a team.”
The USMNT is seeking a first trophy since 2017 and a first under Berhalter since his hiring in December 2018.