LISBON - Tyler Adams was one of the rising stars in MLS in 2017, and now all eyes will be on whether the young New York Red Bulls midfielder will take the field for the US national team in what would be his first cap.
The 18-year-old player is one of the five newcomers called up by caretaker coach Dave Sarachan for Tuesday's upcoming friendly match against Portugal (3:45 p.m. ET | FS1, Univision, UniMás).
“I think that, more than anything, you work hard throughout your career so that you can get your first international call-up," Adams said. "Now that mine has come, I don’t want to take it for granted and I want to make an impression on the coaching staff. There are other players that deserve to be here.”
He had a breakout season for the Red Bulls in 2017, playing mainly as a right wingback, but coach Jesse Marsch also picked him regularly for a central midfielder role. Where will he play on Tuesday?
"That is a question I almost forgot, being in my first camp," Adams said. "I want to take some time and adapt and get used to it. I think I will probably find myself in the midfield."
Sarachan is expected to give several youngsters some time, after the failure to make it to the 2018 World Cup, but Adams had designs on breaking into the squad, whether or not the USA qualified to Russia.
“I wanted to integrate myself as soon as possible into the group," said Adams, who had two goals in 24 league matches this season. "But I know that it took good performances with the Red Bulls in order to earn a call."
Speaking before a Sunday morning training session at Cidade do Futebol, in Lisbon, the youngster admitted he is a Cristiano Ronaldo fan, but the fact that the Portuguese superstar is not going to play in Leiria doesn’t make him less eager to participate in the match.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to play against a top three team in the world, as is the case with Portugal, you cannot take that for granted," he said. "I know that for myself, if I had the opportunity to play it would be a dream come true -- not only to put that jersey on but to play against Portugal as well."