NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Tyler Adams knocked the ball into the back of the net for his first international goal to deliver the U.S. national team a 1-0 win over Mexico on Sept. 11, he couldn't help but feel the weight of the moment.
A native of Wappingers Falls, New York, Adams was just two years old on that fateful day in 2001. But he knows the emotion that this day brings, even 17 years later.
“That means a lot to me,” Adams said of his goal at Nissan Stadium on Tuesday night. “A tragic day, so many people lose their lives. You just want to show the character that you have for the country. For me being from New York, I was so young when it happened, but my family went through it all and obviously some people that they know that live in the city. Such a tragic day, so it was nice to go out there and get a win today.”
The 19-year-old New York Red Bulls Homegrown has been a force for the United States since joining the senior national team, and he finally got his first USMNT goal via an inviting low cross from Antonee Robinson that Adams made a long run from midfield to meet with a calm low finish into the left side of the net.
His impact on the game went far beyond that, according to head coach Dave Sarachan.
“This kid is a beast,” said Sarachan. “When you look at data and analytics and you look at the volume of work that he does in 90 minutes, you guys on the outside see a good part of it, but the data backs it up. He’s a winner, this kid. I think I’ve been really pleased in terms of his growth with the ball in tight spots.
“We know that he can run and cover ground and win tackles and compete. But at the next level now, can you do the next part, and that is have a presence with the ball and picking your spots? It just keeps getting better.”
Adams now returns to a Red Bulls side trying to outpace Atlanta United to keep hold of their place atop the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings in the season’s final stretch. Adams has been a workhorse for RBNY this season, starting in 22 matches and assisting on seven goals.
While he has yet to score in MLS this year, he hopes his meaningful winner for the USMNT can help him jump-start the Red Bulls’ push towards that elusive MLS Cup.
“We’re in a good position right now in first place,” Adams said. “We need to do what we need to do and take care of business. We have some tough games ahead of us at the end of the season, but we want to make sure we win Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.”