When pondering the future of the United States men’s national team one obvious name comes to everyone’s mind — Christian Pulisic. Of course the direction of the national team for the next 4-12 years will be severely altered by one of (if not the) most talented players the U.S. has ever produced. Through a handful of games after failing to qualify for the World Cup, we can now safely say another player has been identified to build the foundation for the long term future.
Tyler Adams has been arguably the most consistent performer for club and country for the last 12 months. A more petty writer might rant and rave about how he should’ve been brought into the U.S. fold sooner before the worst case scenario occurred, but that’s beside the point. The New York Red Bulls midfielder has proven that he’s ready to be a player for the next USMNT manager to build around.
You likely know the superlatives by now. Wise beyond his years, as calm and composed on the ball as they come, technically gifted, and intelligent. Adams has all the tools you could want from a midfielder at the highest level. After constantly impressing in MLS, he’s done the same with the USMNT. Soon we’ll find out if he can make the leap to Europe with rumors strongly linking him with a move to the Bundesliga. It may be too soon to claim that he can thrive there, but everything we’ve seen so far suggests there’s a very good chance that he will.
With Pulisic shouldering the load for the USMNT attack, you need someone behind him that you can rely on to link him to the defense. Tyler Adams has all the potential to be that linchpin in the middle that the U.S. has lacked for a while. It’s no secret that Adams is an extremely versatile player. Whether he’s playing as a pure defensive presence or has more freedom to roam he seems to always impact the game in some fashion. He can read passing lanes and break up attacks. He can transition from defending to attack with his dribbling and pace or his ability to pick out a smart pass. And as we saw against Mexico, he can occasionally join the attack and contribute at that end too.
It’s obviously impossible to predict the future when it comes to who’s managing the team come next year and how a certain player will fit into their system. But, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Adams will have a role to play and the ability to play it no matter what the formation or mentality is.
So, yes Christian Pulisic is the undisputed best player the USMNT has and probably will be for a long time. But every superhero needs a sidekick to succeed and Tyler Adams appears ready to take over the role of Robin for the long haul. The rebuilding process is underway and the current foundation is looking strong.