Tyler Adams is one of the most important pieces to Gregg Berhalter’s United States men’s national project, so waiting to get healthy while his fellow celebrated young Americans prepared for the CONCACAF Nations League was tough.
Adams, 22, played the final 34 minutes of the USMNT’s 3-2 extra-time win over Mexico in the CNL Final on Sunday, his first cap since November and first match period since RB Leipzig beat Stuttgart 2-0 in the Bundesliga on April 25.
“I missed 10-14 days in Leipzig and 3-4 games,” Adams told ProSoccerTalk. “I know there were important games and I had to be prepared to stay ready. I had fitness tests I had to pass. Even the 40 minutes I played, it wasn’t so easy in an intense game but you have to be ready and the team had to be ready for it.”
[ MORE: Berhalter gives Steffen injury update ]
And Adams said playing against Mexico had other benefits besides the main prize of winning a trophy, as the Yanks aim to go three-for-three against CONCACAF rivals with a friendly against Costa Rica on Wednesday.
“Gregg really reiterated how important it was for me to be around the team whether I was fit or not,” Berhalter said. “It was good to get on the field and help any way that I could. … When you play in friendlies or not necessarily a trophy on the line, it won’t replicate the experience for World Cup qualifying. For a young group to go out there and not worry too much about playing the pretty football and scoring the pretty goals, that’s what it’s going to take to qualify for the World Cup.”
Adams also touched on his past and future for club, where he’s become a big part of RB Leipzig’s short- and long-term.
The ex-New York Red Bulls midfielder played plenty for now-Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann, but his new coach is likely to fancy him a starter, too, after Leipzig hired Jesse Marsch.
“Playing under Nagelsmann the last two years, I’ve adapted to playing in a lot of different ways,” Adams said. “Our identity has changed over the years and Gregg will keep us [organized] but our identity is going to be that American pride, that grit, getting into tackles, and trying to find a win.”
“Working with Jesse is going to be really exciting for me. He went his own way the past couple of years but with him coming back to Leipzig it is going to be really interesting. He’s the guy who convinced me to sign for New York at 16 and to compete with trophies for him will be very interesting.”
How to watch USMNT – Costa Rica
Kickoff: 7pm ET
TV Channel: ESPN2, TUDN
USMNT injury news
Matt Miazga isn’t hurt, but is leaving the team ahead of his wedding with Walker Zimmerman coming in to replace him.
Zack Steffen and Bryan Reynolds are both out with “bone bruises on the knee.”
USMNT projected lineup v Costa Rica
How will the USMNT lineup versus Costa Rica? Two things are for sure:
We’ll likely see plenty of stars rested after 120 minutes versus Mexico.
Yunus Musah, the only U.S. field player not to play in the CNL semi or final, is going to go
Cannon — McKenzie — Zimmerman — Robinson
Yueill — Musah
Weah — Aaronson — Lletget
More USMNT news
USMNT – Costa Rica: How to watch, projected lineup, Adams talks originally appeared on NBCSports.com